Monday, March 23, 2009

Silviculture and propaganda

I found these images and places via Strange Harvest, where you'll find a few more satellite-view slogans written with trees. Apparently this was a minor fad in Soviet silviculture during the 1970s.

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Above: "Leninu 100 lyet," or "100 years for Lenin," circa 1970. In the western foothills of the Urals near Ufa.

The slogans honor the past: "USSR 50 years," "USSR 60 years," "100 years for Lenin." Yet, by using trees which would take decades to mature in order to write messages that could only be read from the sky, the foresters who planted these messages were clearly thinking of a glorious jet- and space-age future, when their comrades would read their messages from Intourist space station hotels.

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"60 years USSR," which would date it to 1977, in southern Siberia.

Instead, we read these slogans thanks to a capitalist internet company based in California. The medium has outlived the messages.

It makes me want to buy a few hundred acres of Ohio prairie to plant the words "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" in oak trees.

1 comment:

Chris White said...

One way of looking at this is as an art form. One can better understand the works of Christo & Jean Claude when they remember he became and artist on that side of the Iron Curtain. If I remember one of his stories correctly as an art student he was engaged in artfully arranging tractors and silos along the corridor visible from the Orient Express as it passed through the Soviet controlled countryside.

Maybe a collaborative project could be created with an artist or artists and a sustainable forestry management team that could approach Plum Creek or some other Northwoods landowner and do some "landscapes" for GoogleEarth viewing.