The Arbornauts is an ongoing collaborative public performance project. We are women taking on the role of explorer in a parody of the early space expeditions of NASA-during a time of great hope and idealism. In our work the urban tree canopy becomes the site of a new imaginary mission: As the Arbornauts we venture into the frontier of the urban tree canopy, climbing trees in public spaces with the supposed objective to retrieve valuable geophysical information and survey these geographies for future use. However, the real purpose of our work is to provoke tree climbing behavior and re-imagine our engagement with public space in the urban environment. As a group of three women, we gesture to the ‘boys club’ of astronauts -lunar explorers specifically- which were historically groups of three men. While global environmental issues are so pressing and the history of frontier explorations so problematic, our collective of three women climbing trees in public parks functions both in response to that and towards imagining a possible future, one in which we are deeply excited by our existing environments.
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