Palm Tree Interviews
1998 / photo series with text panels / palm tree
Four unintentional interviews by palm trees of Speakers at Speakers Corner, London.
Since the early 19th century Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, London has been a place where anyone may freely express their views. I presented four public speakers at Speakers Corner with a small potted palm and asked to take their photograph. While I pretended to load the film and focus the camera a crowd gathered. The speakers began to improvise - each starting with the palm tree and then related it somehow back to what they wanted to say. Palm Tree Interviews documents this slight digression to their usual subject matter.
Transcriptions of interviews:
Palestinian rights campaigner: Right, I'm happy holding this palm tree because I've come here to talk about the rights of Palestinians getting their own state. There are lots of palm trees in Palestine. So I'm happy to be holding this, er, this with me and I'd happily hold it for a little while, while I talk about the Palestinians. I hope that the Palestinians one day get their own state soon, hopefully this year and they get to live in peace with the Israelis who will have their Israeli state, the Palestinians will have their state and they'll be able to live on, get on well with each other and they'll be able to go to the seaside and sit under the shade of the palm trees, and go for a swim in the Red Sea or the Mediterranean or the Sea of Galilee. Lovely place, I recommend people go and visit it. Very nice indeed.
Poet: I'm holding a palm tree in the palm of my hand, and it's a combination of tree and grass. Long blades of green like grass yet the hard structure of a tree. It can grow high and cover me and can be seen from a distance more than grass. That's all.
Bob: Shall we all pretend we're plants? I'm a plant Shall we all pretend we're plants? Shall we all pretend we're plants? That's right, yes, we're all plants here. That's right, yes, we're all plants here. That's right, that's right... and the sun's, the sun's shining on us, the sun's shining on us, the sun's shining on us, and we're going to grow. We're going to grow, we're going to grow. We're going to grow. That's right; stretch, stretch out, That's the idea, that's the idea. Isn't this, isn't this, isn't this... When you stop to think about it?
Christian Evangelist: Do you know that Jesus loves you, and he's coming soon. Do you believe it? It's the God who created the palm tree and gave life to it. Your palm tree's going to burn up but God loves you and you're going to his kingdom, and the palm tree's going to burn up and there will be a more beautiful one in heaven.