Out of the desire to make the public space public again, to tell stories and listen to non-members of our ‘tribe’ and out of the desire to simply be, we started the TREE project in 2009. TREE is an installation, an enormous tree, made up of scaffolding and decorated by large golden leaves. Ben lives inside the tree, and travels around the world with his installation, searching for the ultimate story. The one story that makes all other stories redundant. In his head there would be less war, stress and miscommunication if there were only a story that everyone can relate to. One story that can console, touch, and cheer everybody up. He wants to achieve this by finding out what stories people enjoy nowadays and try to find the common ground in those stories.
When Ben visits a city, he builds up his TREE in a public square. He asks the people of this city to bring along their favourite story to his installation. They can be stories from literature, movies, poetry and/or music. Ben asks people to tell/read out/bring their story and speaks to them about the reasons they are touched by this story. Ben is interested in the necessity of a story, the passion and excitement that people feel through a story. Ben writes the key words on metal leaves, which he then hangs in the installation. After a few days he breaks down his TREE and moves on to the next city. After 144 cities and 144 leaves his TREE is full and he will lock himself up in his cube of stories. There he can start working on his ultimate story, and he won’t come out of his installation until he has found it.
Concept and performance: Lucas De Man
Design: Pascal Leboucq
Dramaturgy: Kimberly Major
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