On the bus this morning a friend told me about treesweater. A lonely, lowly little tree in Seattle has been graced by a hand-knit sweater over the cold winter months. Erika at Redshirt Knitting thought the tree outside her office looked a little chilly and decided to knit it up some love. The result has been documented and picked up by some unusual and international media. First, Seattle's the Stranger spotted the treesweater and featured it on the very front page of a late March issue.
Eventually the treesweater's notoriety reached as far as New Zealand, being written up in Thread, New Zealand's fashion-culture magazine. An impressive impact for such a tiny, quickly knit, web of yarn.
During my undergrad I practiced a small amount of artistic subterfuge similar to treesweater. My boyfriend at the time helped me drape campus trees in resonating tubes so that when the blustery wind of Southern Alberta blew the reed tubes would hum and eerily echo. I would watch people glance around them, eventually up into the tree, seeking the source of the eerie music. Sometimes the glances were curious then delighted, sometimes they were annoyed then irate. And, of course, some passers by were so oblivious of the world around them that they took absolutely no notice. While having an otherwise idle conversation with the brother of a friend, he suddenly began to rant about the "f*cking chimes some asshole strung up outside the rec. building." I wonder what he would have said if I told him his conversational partner was the perpetrator of what he considered a crime.
Eventually the tubes were needed for another project and we took them down, but I loved being behind an act of public art, forcing (most) people to reconsider the world around them and not take a simple path for granted. What's the moral of this story? Go, go geurilla art!