Since the beginning of the year the German artist Jochen Gerz has been persuading the people of Ballymun to buy trees. Gerz is an artist, but the tools of his trade are not paint and brushes or chisels and mallets, writes Aidan Dunne
Words are his primary medium. He goes to work with a briefcase, his mobile phone is always close to hand and he looks rather like a businessman: smart clothes, closely cropped hair, glasses, a conventional if subdued, almost ascetic appearance.
More than anything he is a persuader. A measured, patient talker, he is used to explaining things over and over again to any audience. At Ballymun he has been explaining the project, called A Map To Care, to the local community, to art professionals, to politicians, bureaucrats and journalists and to the group of students from the National College of Art and Design who are working with him.
He wants people to donate half of the cost of a tree of their choice (Dublin City Council will match their donations and help with planting and maintenance), to be planted in Ballymun. The cheapest tree is â‚¬50. He's looking at having businesses and individuals sponsor donations for people who cannot afford to donate themselves. Anyone who would like to donate a tree is welcome to do so. Currently about 100 people have pledged involvement.
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