Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Ferrous City

Fake iron trees dotting London's landscape…



Update: Mike here. Contemplate the multi-layered profundity of a dirigiste city council trying their gol-darndest to stimulate ersatz economic growth with ersatz plant life, in a city once known for the real things. Here is what some of the chunks of iron look like in their temporarily pre-rust, pre-vandalism state.

Two of the three things to the left are trees that look like lamp posts. The other is a lamp post that looks like a tree. Below, a yellow tree lends an unwelcome hint of autumnal decay and civic regret to the Covent Garden Market.




The John Labatt Centre: no growth, in the red.

27 comments:

John Nicklin said...

But how much CO2 do they soak up?

Jake said...

I walked downtown today and saw a few of these monstrosities. They look hideous.

They look all shiny and bright now but in a few years the paint will fade and chip off from sunlight and vandalism. Also, people will use the "trunks" as free billboards to advertise concerts and sales, the same way streetlights downtown are caked with layers of flyers.

Who will pay to take them down after they become ugly steel skeletons? I guarantee they won't be replaced. In about five years, you'll see the Free Press with some dumb "report" on who will get rid of them.

rhebner said...

can you guys not afford the real things?

Alice the Camel said...

I don't know...They're not susceptible to the pine beetle or dutch elm disease. The branches probably won't break off in a wind storm. The leaves look sharp enough that you won't have to worry about pesky pigeons defiling the pedestrians. No chance of slivers. You won't be bothered by all that noisy rustling in the leaves when the wind blows. And the next thunderstorm might be SPECTACULAR!

I'm thinking this is a very good move.

basil said...

*insert Technicolor burp with sound effects here*

WW said...

And they go rust in the fall right?

eng said...

Why are they doing this?

Kipling said...

Mapmaster,

In all my years of reading this blog this has to be the dumbest thing your city council has ever done, indeed any city council outside the former Soviet Bloc I say this admitting fully that I was born, and raised, in a city that put up statues of multi-coloured moose through out its downtown core less than a decade ago.

I feel very, very, very sorry for you, Lisa, Basil, Mike and the rest of the Fog crew.

My God help you because clearly nothing else will.

Regards,

Little Big Man said...

I heard, today, that the city has decided to put these metal 'trees' in places that cannot sustain life. Is it just me, or are they planting these things on GOVERNMENT property? Just an observation (and all it implies).

MapMaster said...

Kipling, your sentiments are correctly placed as well as being greatly appreciated, but at least in this instance their source is misattributed. It is not the city itself but the Downtown Business Improvement Association — a syndicate to which all downtown merchants are required to pay dues by force of some arcane and misbegotten city bylaw — that is paying for the construction of these monstrosities, although the city certainly had to approve their erection on municipal property. (Whether the city contributes itself to the business association or to the erection or maintenance costs of the "trees," I have no idea.)

What's amusing, however, is that numerous councillors — notably Cheryl Miller — were eager themselves to embrace the iron trees as if to bask in the reflected glory. No sentiment is too vulgar or cheap for a politician to try to appropriate it.

Anonymous said...

This smells like the desperation Michael Moore captured in "Roger and Me" as Flint Michigan tried to spruce itself up.
Excellent work with the 1-800-got-junk pic...you folks rule!

eng said...

Was 1-800-got-junk supposed to be the truck that will eventually take the trees away? Or was it the delivery truck for the trees?

Elaine said...

...talking about junk. This morning at around 5:30, I was driving over the Adelaide St. overpass by the cop shop heading south, and there was Prophet Suzuki, bigger than life, holding up a mercury filled light bulb. It jolted me big time, and I instantly woke up.

All of sudden, I thought of Iraq, and those big pictures they used to have of Saddam adorning every public spot they could find.

I realize that the prophet Suzuki would not be getting paid to push those mercury filled light bulbs because in the glowatardian world capitalism is a big fucking no-no.

Talking about capitalist pigs. I see the glowatardians have an organic fruit and vegetable stand at the Western Fair flea market. I once bought a bag of their worm-holed odd shaped apples for $5.00. I figured out I was paying ten cents per worm hole per apple. I am not going to do that again. I will be getting my protein from other sources.

Anonymous said...

Are the trees hollow, just like Anne Marie DeCicco-Best's head.

wx said...

It's so typical that as soon as something interesting happens to London, its residents try their best to be as negative and old-fashioned as possible.

To call these sculptures "fake trees" is to call abstract sculptures "fake blobs". Sure, they resemble trees, yet don't perform a normal tree's duties. But 1. The purpose of these sculptures are purely aesthetic, and 2. Does this really make them harmful? I'll bet a large chunk of people who attack these trees for their uselessness to the environment, crank up their air conditioning all day and rarely take public transportation.

Anyone with ANY sense of design will tell you that they are not fake imitations of trees, but rather, impressions of trees. I find them beautiful, quite Cristo-esque, and the only up to date thing that's happened to London since I (unfortunately) moved here.

I'd hate to see what would become of an interesting city if it was overtaken by Londoners.

Anonymous said...

I can't beleive that someone could post such a hateful thing about somebodies ART.
Did you even take into consideration the man who made these sculptures? Or were you too busy dancing with joy at the prospect of bad-mouthing something that London is trying to do to improve its streets?

I have seen these trees before they were painted and were rusty, they are glorious. In 5 years time they will look even more beautiful than ever.

Mike said...

Anonymous, if you don't have anything nice to say about the mean things I have to say, then you shouldn't say anything at all.

I put a lot of work into taking those pictures, selecting the best ones, cropping them, and so on. I don't appreciate you taking a conflictualistic, divisive approach in your response.

Let tolerance of diversity, and a diversity of tolerance, be your watchwords.

Feliza said...

The trees are unique and give a YOUNGER view for London that is so conservative. Nobody would say anything about them in Toronto, for example. It's art and art is so abstract that it's quite normal that people love them or hate them.
I don't see anything wrong with them. What I see horribly harmful are the cars on the streets, the HOME WASTE we produce EVERYDAY, The energy wasted by the dishwashers, the tv on all day long, the ridiculous consumism that the WHOLE nation live...
Everybody is saying, "Why didn't plant real trees?" I bet if theres a tree in your backyard that bothers you to construct your new sundeck to put the all brand new $3000 BBQ, you'd immediately look a way to get rid of it. Am I all right or I come back?

MapMaster said...

"It's art and art is so abstract…"

…that nobody knows what it is anymore, except as a cliché. The same might be said for some people's thinking.

Feliza said...

Maybe to all people's thinking. That's why each of us are unique. Humans... We are a piece of art...

MapMaster said...

So one man's art is another man's $3000 BBQ?

Feliza said...

It would be... I mean, for $3000 the piece of shit has to be a piece of art, don't ya?

MapMaster said...

Good, then we can all just get along without telling other people how to live, viz. BBQs, cars, or dishwashers, right?

feliza said...

oh my!!! Don't tell me... You have a $3000 BBQ!!!! I'm Sorry!

Ok. Just kidding =)

We can get along with enourmous iron fake trees as well, I think. Come on give them a chance! Anyways, there's no way to pretend no watching them... They are THERE, very THERE.

P.S. I don't want to tell how people should live at all. But I'm just expresing my point of view in what I think It's more worrying than the neon trees. I still like the trees and I'm still living among cars, BBQ's and dishwashers.
Peace and love. And tolerance ;)

MapMaster said...

That's OK, Feliza, I can live with the metal trees too. But I must admit that I've seen nicer-looking BBQs (and at a fraction of the price!).

Cheers

Emily said...

There are not imatations of trees but rather "imagination" Its art. I agree fully with wx. Calling metal trees imatations is calling abstract just a bunch of blobs of paint.

MapMaster said...

But abstract art is "just a bunch of blobs of paint." I mean, just look at it. If it serves an aesthetic purpose, then I suppose the word "aesthetic" means pretty much nothing at all, as far as I can see. Not that I object to metal trees or abstract art — I can ignore them as easily as any other litter.