Tree Felling at the Plaza

In Transition: Comrades for the City

May 2021

“Looking through the 3cm square cube sized gaps in the metal gate we try to gauge what has become of the pencil sculpture, assembled from silver and blue 12ft spokes of recycled metal, with letters cut out to form quotations from artistic and literary figures, such as Paul Klee and Roland Barthes.”

– Nirmal Puwar

This film is a collaboration between writer (Nirmal Puwar), artist (Paul Chokran) and photographer filmmaker (Adele Mary Reed) who come together as Comrades for the City to witness and salvage . Daily walks lead to observations of change and destruction, full of trepidation, leading to interventions with Food Union and The Pod. Grateful for what we have managed to salvage by becoming Comrades for the City, engaged in “quiet activism”, though what we have not managed to salvage continues to play on our mind too.

Supported by Goldsmiths University, London.

In Memoriam: Tree Felling at The Plaza

May 2020

Commissioned by Dr. Nirmal Puwar, Sociologist at Goldsmiths University as part of the project Mourning, Mapping, Mobilising and made in collaboration with Puwar and illustrator Paul Chokran. An online launch event Brutalist Architectures: mourning, mapping, mobilising was hosted by Methods Lab and Critical Ecologies, Goldsmiths on Tuesday 20th October 2020 with a range of panel speakers including academics, authors, artists and activists. A recording of the event is available at the link above.

“All of a sudden the trees had been chopped off, they were gone, with logs all over the place and mounds of sawdust blowing in the air. Though the trees were classified as protected, the city council raised no objections to the bulldozing making way for university developments at the junction of Cox St and Jordan Well in Coventry, West Midlands. A relation of kith and kin, developed from being passersby to civic green heritage, was unnecessarily severed, with trees that had stood tall for over fifty years, shifting, growing and sounding with the wind sun and rain, suddenly gone. To observe the shock of the sudden and unnecessary perplexing break, of what was part of the everyday and is no more, sociologist Nirmal Puwar, photographer Adele Mary Reed and urban sketcher Paul Chokran, engaged in an inter disciplinary site-specific collaboration. The tree felling and the scene left behind became an installation as well as an illustration of disregard for both civic and environmental heritage.”

– Nirmal Puwar

Via regular, prolonged site visits involving examinations and conversations over the devastation and smaller details of the ruins of stumps outside the front of the Graham Sutherland building, Coventry University’s arts faculty, Puwar, Reed and Chokran between them developed and reflected upon pictures, words, sounds and collections of natural materials. The film “In Memoriam: Tree Felling at The Plaza” [8.30 mins] produced by Reed, is a composition of the findings gathered during the lockdown months of Spring and Summer, 2020.