Weeping Trees: The Hard Way

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I'm not sure where I stand when it comes to contemporary art- but when contemporary art includes plants as a medium?

Bad to the phloem!

All aboard!

I went on a field trip last week to Western Massachusetts and while I was there, I visited the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (AKA Mass MoCA). I did not care much for what I paid $15 to see inside, with a few super groovy exceptions. But out in front, to be viewed for free, was this funky installation that some might call "art"... but I'd call a kick-ass science experiment.

Topsy Turvy Trees

Topsy Turvy Trees

Art or Torture?

Art or Torture?

What do you think? Art?

While I was there I was told, and there was clear evidence that, a few of the trees have already been replaced. Some were curling up like the Wicked Witch of the East's toes apres house and some were still stick straight. The museum offered a blog post about this here.

If you read the post about replacing the trees, read the lone comment. I LOVE the indignant commenter ranting about how trees aren't supposed to grow upside down. Um, it's "art".... and trees grow all sorts of dumb places on their own, if given the chance....

And really, it's nothing to get blood pressurey about, dude. It's not coming out of your pocket...

(And if he was this upset about the trees outside, I'd like to hear how he felt about the mass taxidermy that was going on inside)

But I'll tell you what. I may be a nincompoop 9/10th of the time, but if there's anything in the WORLD I'm qualified to talk about, it's why things in containers, grown in cold climates, die.

These trees aren't dying because they are upside down. They are dying because...

1. They are growing in tiny metal containers with no insulation, as far as I can tell. Not that I'd be able to tell, but they just don't look big enough for roots, soil and insulation. It was WAAAAY below zero when I was there and there's only so much a tree can take. They become rootsicles. If they were in bigger containers with some insulation in them, so that there is enough room for the roots and they don't have to touch cold metal? They'd have a fighting chance....

2. Irrigation? HELLO?? They are growing in metal cylinders, when the sun hits them it's like growing in an oven. How do they get enough water to combat this? I'm betting they don't. Who likes extremes like that? No one.

3. No container planted tree is going to live in a tundra zone like this forever, regardless of it's upsidedownness. Root pruning is the best PITA action to take. It keeps the roots from hitting those cold sides again. It helps make sure there's enough soil in the container to hold water, instead of the water just rolling right off... And don't forget, it would stop the roots from busting up those rad, industrial cannisters the trees are planted in.

Enough from me, I'm dying to know what you think.... A cool way to see trees weep? Or are these trees literally weeping?