Idrove to Tyler Park in the evening. I parked and walked directly to my tree by the playground. Kids were all around screaming and playing. I often think kids are going to notice me and make sounds or ask questions. Sometimes I wonder if over-cautious parents would disapprove of my possibly influential and dangerous activities and say something. Othertimes I kind of want the attention and I want to impress them. But most often I am ignored or not even seen. I looked at that first low branch of my tree and was determined to run up the trunk and grab it successfully on my first try.
I wanted this because it feels good but also because that is what I did on my first climb in this tree. To do worse than the first climb is annoying and frustrating and I generally make all efforts to improve and not go backwards. So I ran, kicked off the trunk and with one hand, hooked, grabbed, and stuck. So far so good. I listened for comments from the nearby kids. Nothing. Up one more branch and I was thoroughly invisible and forgotten. I raced up the nicely spaced limbs. I felt unchallenged and unnoticed, yet, I tried to remain quiet to not draw attention to myself. This is my personal time, my unique experience. I often complain when I have an audience. I grabbed my ribbon and went slightly higher. I took a pair of leaves and took some pictures.
Then I climbed down doing all I could do to make it interesting by choosing different limbs than I had used to get up. At the lowest branch I paused and watched a couple of kids yell and fight verbally on the playground. They had no idea I was there. I dropped to the ground and still no remarks. I walked out from under the tree and took some more pictures. I wonder if the people who looked at me just then thought I appeared from out of nowhere? I assumed they thought nothing and didn’t care. Though, maybe they thought, "why is he taking pictures of that tree?" Or, "is he a student?" People often think that. I put my camera in my pocket and walked to the Baxter overpass. I climbed the wall to the tree next to it. Then I went over the iron fence to the road. I crossed and then went over the other fence and down the wall wedged between another tree and down to the park floor. Again I was unnoticed. Maybe it was the low light from the set sun that made me invisible. Maybe I shouldn’t care.
9-24-08: I thought the tone of my entry was strange. So self-conscious. I was completely obsessed with how the people viewed me and what they thought. I guess it is one thing to know that I may have an effect on kids at a playground and to be careful of that. But it is another thing to just be overly concerned about what people are thinking. Since I have had interactions in the past where the people have seemed to disapprove I am always trying to gauge whether certain people in the area may disapprove or not so as to avoid confrontation. I hate getting kicked out of a tree. But of course, I also like positive attention. Anyway.
Awesome day on Monday! I got up at 6am and got all my stuff together and drove off to Dublin, Ohio. I packed the 4 bodies into my dad’s Subaru and I got quite a few looks from cars passing by. I was passing this one truck and they sped up all the sudden to look into my vehicle. Then they slowed back down and I could see them laughing and talking about them. Another lady was passing me and chose to slow down and look into my car for a while then speed off. When I finally got to Coffman Park in Dublin I took some pictures of how the bodies were packed.
The first person I met from the DAC was Chuck. He was there to film the entire installation process. That was a relief because I wanted to do video but my camera only has so much space. Some other staff showed up and we drove onto the grass over by the playground. I got out my equipment and we waited for David, the executive director, to show up with my waiver forms. After signing, I put on my harness and was getting all my materials hooked on and ready. I was going to install first in the tree by the playground but I was told that the local FOX news channel was coming for a live feed a little after noon. We had some time but I thought that tree by the playground would be good for the news channel so we decided to use the bucket truck they got for me and install in the sycamore by the creek. Larry works for the city and operated the bucket. Thankfully they had a bucket that fit two people comfortably. Before we went up I instructed Michele on how to tie the bodies onto the rope so I could hoist them up. I also told them the signal word to get out of the way if I dropped something. "Headache." It is something I picked up at the tree service job. Saying "heads up" tends to make people look up rather than move out of the way. Everything was set and we went up in the bucket towards the branch I chose for my first installation. All was going well until I started to secure the body to the branch. I did not want to damage the tree at all so I drilled holes in the hands and feet of the body to string metal rope through them and secure them around the limb. Drilling the holes went fine but threading the metal rope through proved to be quite difficult. I eventually solved the problem but it took so long that we were getting pressure to finish up and run over to the tree by the playground for FOX’s segment. I took some pictures of the first install as Larry lowered the bucket.
That’s Larry concentrating hard on the maneuvering of the bucket. I didn’t know how to move the bucket and he only got a crash course refresher just before driving the truck over to the park. He did a good job.
Then we ran over to the second sycamore and I was getting my rope recoiled for the climb. The tree was a great climbing tree so I figured I didn’t even need to climb with the rope. I could just use my lanyard at the spot where I would install to secure myself. So I looked around at everyone and asked the FOX reporter what they wanted me to do. They told me to just get climbing. So I ran up the trunk and began my way up the tree. I picked my spot that I thought the body would fit well on and then secured myself, dropped the rope and pulled up my body.
During the process of attaching the body FOX did their live feed.
This installation was quite difficult and took the longest. I had to secure three separate spots and it was difficult to move around the tree. I didn’t realize it, but while I was doing this two other local tv crews showed up and filmed me. I believe they were the NBC and CBS stations. I finally finished and climbed back down.
Waiting for me at the bottom was the arts reporter for the Columbus Dispatch newspaper. He interviewed my while everyone else there was eating lunch. I did not expect all this media attention, but I can’t complain.
I then refueled and headed over to the third sycamore. I figured it would be much easier with the bucket truck in this one since it is set back in the woods and the branches are far apart. Larry drove the truck over and we got started. As I was installing this body I was getting the hang of the process and it was going quicker. I finished and we went back down to the ground once again.
This time a photographer was waiting for me. I forget who he was there for but he was a nice guy and I talked to him a little bit as we walked over to the fourth and final tree. The bur oak.
I took my time in determining where to place the body in the oak tree. It is a large and beautiful tree with many branches. I wanted to be sure to install the body in a very visible place. I made my decision and again determined that the bucket truck would be the best way to install. Larry drove over and we got to work.
This last one was the quickest and my favorite. It really looks good and while we were doing the install we got a lot of reactions from the people driving by.
It was all done and I couldn’t be happier. It was a great experience and everyone who helped was so nice. Thank you all for the experience and the assistance.
The opening will be at Coffman Park on Monday October 20th from 5-7 pm.
Also, after the install I was interviewed by David, the executive director and was filmed. It is long (over 18 minutes) and uncut. You can hear my answers but not the questions. But if you are interested in watching it and learning about my process, art, etc. here is the link to the video: http://www.vimeo.com/1795029