Tree X Office
xTree is a new co-working space and open plan office opening this summer in the canopy of a tree in Socrates Sculpture Park. This workspace overlooks the East River and has magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline, wifi and locally-produced* power. The facility is owned and operated by the tree itself, acting as your landlord. Your tenancy generates rent – proceeds to be used by and for the interests of your landlord tree as the tree determines for example: augmenting soil with biochar, companion plantings, and other actions at the tree’s discretion.
This development is made possible as part of the Civic Action exhibition (Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park) and Jeremijenko’s UP2U urban plan in which the trees have deeded themselves and the property they stand on. Read more about Trees-in-Deed here.
TREE OFFICE! WHY?
Historically, the capacity to own property has bestowed political agency, independence and even personhood to the property owner. “40 acres and a mule” were reparations granted to (and then re-seized from) freed slaves; a well known example of the suturing of recognition and territorial control. However, even today the capacity to own and inherit property diverges markedly with gender. If non-human organisms own property, will that change their explicit value in a market-based participatory democracy?
This transaction took place between 1820 and 1832. According to the newspaper article, the deed read:
I, W. H. Jackson, of the county of Clarke, of the one part, and the oak tree… of the county of Clarke, of the other part: Witnesseth, That the said W. H. Jackson for and in consideration of the great affection which he bears said tree, and his great desire to see it protected has conveyed, and by these presents do convey unto the said oak tree entire possession of itself and of all land within eight feet of it on all sides.
Under the new property ownership regime of UP2U urban plan trees can of course exploit their property for their own purposes. Moreover, trees assume personhood through the 14th amendment which is now assumed to grant personhood to corporations. Applying this to trees, by virtue of their shareholder and board status in the OOZ corporation, trees themselves become corporate/persons, or active agents–new citizens.
Further, the current technological opportunity transforms trees’ capacity to self-monitor and report, tweet, and account for their use by people and other organisms. They themselves account for the variety of uses and services they provide, and they themselves monetize these services, exploit their own assets, and capitalize on their capital. Using simple, inexpensive sensors the trees assume their own voice and capacity to exert corporate personhood within this new structure of ownership.
Further to this other uses develop these Trees as amenities. Including: International Tree Climbing Sport [link tbp], Aerial Yoga class[link tbp]. xTree will continue to incubate other explicit uses. And will also be an xClinic field office for this time.
*See the Tree that owns itself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_That_Owns_Itself.
Want to set up a coworking space in a tree in your neighborhood?
Contact us for the TREExOFFICE kit that includes legal template (for the tree to own itself) and tips for how to enlist the local community board/EDC and/or Parks Dept., COSM + arduino + sensors for putting tree on the Internet-of-Things and making it a sentient being, investment guide for trees (i.e. how the tree can invest profits most profitably, including BIOchar soil augmentation and College Fund for sending saplings to college), highspeed internet (Free Network Foundation have done the hardwork of figuring how to support the information commons), Pirate Box instructions for local area network, OS treebooking software (and Jenn’s fantastic integration), inexpensive recycled mezzanines custom made for your tree, recycled office furniture coupon from GreenBuild (the place to get glamorous office chairs that have stood the test of time and are suitably “business class”), and a white paper outlining the strategy to exploit private property laws for public good and the relationship to the Rights of Earth declaration.
Occupy Trees!!!! firstname.lastname@example.org
Facade Design Team
Falstudio: Guvenc Topcuoglu. London
xClinic: Fran Gallardo, Natalie Jeremijenko
Associated Fabrication: Jeffrey and Bill Thanks so very very much!!!!
Installation: thanks to the heroic efforts of Fran Gallardo, with the Incredible Lars, and assistance from Gyorgyi Galik and Sarah Choukah, E and Yo Jeremijenko-Conley and Noah
Mezzanine Installation: thanks to the surgical precision and tremendous skill of Navillus Contracting team http://www.navillusinc.com/comp.anintroduction.html
Their care of the tree, despite the heavy equipment and challenging situation was incredible.
Web design: Gyorgyi Galik, Jenn Kaye
Web booking design: Jenn Kaye
WIFI : Free Network Foundation
Legal advice for Trees-In-Deed:
Coworking Business Case (presented to the tree): Milano Community Development Finance Lab
Sapling College Fund: you? recruiting volunteers to plant the trees saplings on their college campus.