About the project

Beuys’ Acorns is an open-ended project initiated when the artists germinated hundreds of acorns collected from Joseph Beuys’s seminal artwork 7000 Oaks. The new research phase ‘when a tree is a work of art, a forest a social movement’ critically challenges economic and political drivers in the UK that are an active assault on nature conservation, energy sustainability and social equality.

All across England’s green and threatened land, community and local authority opposition has been over-ruled to grant hundreds of permits to city-based share investors to drill and frack for fossil fuel in an unprecedented mass industrialisation of the countryside that threatens fragile ecosystems and the Paris Agreement pledge to hold ‘the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels’.

A forest close to our studio is a site of resistance. A fort has been built. Last December, over 400 people gathered on Leith Hill to express their love of a place and resist moves by the oil industry to drill in a designated area of nature protection.

With production support, we seek to increase the Visibility of ‘earth protectors’ building camps on sites which have permits for oil extraction, and to give Voice to multi-species in these vulnerable habitats. Architectural structures will be erected in forests, fields, village greens and places planned for fossil fuel extraction. These will be used for open workshop activities on creative resistance and on repositioning the terms of art activism with protectors, residents and local campaign groups. Knowledge-sharing and forums will enable direct public engagement with world-leading conservationists, environmental lawyers, ecologists, climate change scientists, economists and global activists with vision and aspirations for socio-ecological justice.

About the artist

Architecture, sculpture, photography, ecology and biology are disciplines that intersect in their time-based work, where process and event reflect both environmental and scientific concerns. From voyages to the high Arctic with Cape Farewell and international keynote speeches, to their role as lead artists on the David Attenborough Building in Cambridge, they consistently reveal influential and affective artistic and cultural responses to climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation.