Pei-Yao Chang

a reconciliation

2022 - ongoing
Mixed medium

‘Son, do you know how love should be begun?’
The boy sat small and listening and still. Slowly he shook his head.
The old man leaned closer and whispered:
‘A tree. A rock. A cloud.’

A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud, Carson McCullers

In the United Kingdom (UK) a tree, group of trees or a woodland subject to a Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) cannot be removed, uprooted or pruned without written consent.  It is not easy to apply TPOs for trees. TPOs are made by local planning authorities (LPAs) in England to protect trees in the interests of ‘amenity’, or attractiveness of a place. However, the boundary between human property and trees' roots and branches in their natural state could result in controversy, even a legal challenge.

How do we evaluate ‘amenity’ for a monetary value for a court case? What could unfold, if however, we instead take a non-human perspective? What could ‘amenity’ mean for trees?

A Reconciliation is an on-going artistic research project that rethinks the boundary and tensions between human / non-human relationships in a legal context. The project is a multiple-media installation that includes an archive of legal cases, digital prints, and an analog memory box to compose a trio of artefacts, [2016] UKUT 300 (LC)A Figure, Figures and ‘A Tree, A Stone, A Cloud’.

Within this reconciliatory journey, audiences are invited to travel from a legal procedure through affective aspects, through space and time, and re-imagine TPO regulation from the perspective of urban trees in the UK whilst simultaneously opening intimate conversations and connections with trees.

Link here to see Royal College of Art’s 2022 graduate online exhibition