‘I am a Tree’ – submission for new piece of performance art to the Tate Modern

13 Jun

UmbrellaTree

Chelsea Art School student, Sugarponce, rehearses for his creative debut on the modern art scene

I am a tree. Symbol of life and constant, steady expansion.  Like a growing child, a fat man who got fond of Krispy Kreme donuts, or a transvestite on a course of steroids. I haven’t decided yet which type of tree…

Cedars evoke musky and pungent cheap cologne. Oak trees are too much a symbol of the old English establishment; ash trees remind me of greying skin and hair and frail bodies.

Shame I missed the Jubilee celebrations, a bit of well-timed performance art could really have raised the tone of the event.

They could have billed my oak-hybrid-ash piece just before Sir Paul McCartney. At least they could have given me a slot on the podium at Islington Village’s ‘street party.’ The only entertainment on offer there was a 60-year-old ‘swing band’ and a dog in a Union Jack hat. Britain’s Got Talent has a lot to answer for.

No, perhaps I’d be better off staging it in a bona fide art gallery. I wouldn’t want my audience to confuse me with a mime artist, those freeloaders on the South Bank who perform for money. My art is undistilled, unimpeached, untainted by the desire for financial gain. I’ll just take a commission straight from the curators of the Tate – linked to visitor numbers, with a bonus if they exceed expectations.

Perhaps I’ll take a leap out of Damien Hirst’s book and auction myself off. After all, a work of art is dependent entirely on the context in which you find it. (And the effectiveness of its PR and marketing strategy). Remember those people who were hired to run through the hall of Tate Britain at four-minute intervals? Context. Besides, mine is a far more nuanced and demanding performance.

I am a mighty Redwood tree, ascending endlessly into the sky. .. I am a Weeping Willow tree. Swoosh, swoosh. Swoosh. I am born of a tiny seed, and spring slowly into a gentle giant of the forest, spraying my children into the air via process of pollination and asexual intercourse. Looking back, I reflect on the solitary nature of a reproductive process largely self-induced. Man and tree in that respect have something in common. (Stanislavski technique. Think yourself into mindset of the role.)

There have been occasions in my life where I have engaged in self-induced sexual intercourse. Largely during the wintry wilderness when Arabella left me for that chain-smoking neo-grunge frontman. Like the mighty tree, I have survived cold and barren conditions. And my trunk has grown thick and hard… OK one simile too far. This performance is family-friendly. Swoosh. Whoosh.

Thud. That’s the sound of the falling apples. Apple trees have the advantage of providing take-away freebies for visitors, which is always a draw even if authorities disapprove. Witness the take-away sunflower seeds at Ai Weiwei’s show in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The floor of the exhibition room would be littered with ripe fruit…actually, that sounds like a health-and-safety violation. Could I freeze-pack them? Don’t want it to turn into the process of watching food mould over. That’d be plagiarism; that idea is so passé.

I think, actually, I am a monkey puzzle tree. Bewildering, impenetrable to outsiders, but fascinating to watch. I am exotic and enigmatic. So… next box to fill in. ‘Who would you say were your major artistic influences?’ Can I count… myself?

 

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