By: s2darkling

Sep 16 2014

Category: Uncategorized

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reckon:

An Alberta sculptor fights oil companies to exhibit art on his own land

By Amy Fung

As you walk through Peter von Tiesenhausen’s land, artwork emerges as if summoned from the ground up. Ships and nests made of willow branches appear along well-worn paths. Statues carved from logs stand watch from between the trees. In Tiesenhausen’s studio, small canvases that resemble the cracked earth of recent droughts are propped across the window sill and sketches of aspen trees (drawn with aspen ash onto aspen pulp paper) hang along the wall.

Philosophically and aesthetically, it’s clear that the landscape and the art are inseparable, and since 1997, the Alberta visual artist has pursued this argument legally as well, taking the unprecedented step of copyrighting his land as a work of art.

Tiesenhausen made the decision after years of legal battles with oil and gas companies that wanted access to the deposits of natural gas that sit just beneath his 800-acre plot of land. Under federal law, Alberta landowners have the rights only to the surface of their land. The riches that lie beneath are generally owned by the government, which can grant oil and gas producers access so long as the companies agree to compensate landowners. This compensation is usually for lost harvests and inconvenience, but, Tiesenhausen reasoned, what if instead of a field of crops these companies were destroying the life’s work of an acclaimed visual artist? Wouldn’t the compensation have to be exponentially higher?

“I’m not trying to get money for my land, I’m just trying to relate to these companies on their level,” says Tiesenhausen from his home near Demmitt, Alberta. “Once I started charging $500 an hour for oil companies to come talk to me, the meetings got shorter and few and far between.”

Continue reading:

http://this.org/magazine/2010/04/22/peter-von-tiesenhausen-fights-oil-companies/

http://www.tiesenhausen.net/

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