The Dream

One day, I was looking at the sky out of the window of my 4. floor studio. I could see the tree tops above the window frame. In my imagination I saw myself like a projection balancing almost weightlessly on the highest and most fragile branches. Sinking deep into that dream, reeling; afraid of falling, pushing the thought away, I moved forward over the canopy’s thinnest branches.
— Christoph Both-Asmus

The Process and Challenge

Inspired by, and from the first moments of his daydream, Christoph Both-Asmus knew that he would recreate the image of The Tree Walker cinematically. Since then he has successfully made numerous approaches, in research and actualization to achieve that goal. To realize this vision, Christoph learned tree climbing – a special rope climbing technique in order to pursue his initial ideas for the conversion of the project. It became apparent that the true challenge would be to actually balance over the highest and thinnest branches of the canopy, the fragile ceiling of the forest.

The phenomenological insight, that Both-Asmus perceived from contemplating this dream, is that our world is a fantastic and mysterious place. Working on the 'The Tree Walker' Christoph Both-Asmus' aim is to give the audience a glimpse of the experience that his dream has given him. He hopes that 'The Tree Walker'  will sharpen the senses of his audience, allowing the open minded to see the world from a completely different perspective, to make a percipience and appreciation of the world around us possible.

 

The “Canopy Bubble” Balloon

To realize the image of The Tree Walker, Christoph Both-Asmus works together with Dany Cleyet-Marrel, who is assigned with the technical challenge. The Canopy Bubble is a Helium Balloon, invented by Dany Cleyet-Marrel, strong enough to carry one Person. With the help of Helium Valves the up lift can be controlled. That way the Canopy Bubble can be set to make Christoph Both-Asmus almost weightless as he was in his dream. Christoph Both-Asmus will be connected to the Canopy Bubble via twenty five meter long ropes. That way, the balloon will be out of the camera’s angle of view.

Canopy Bubble © Dany Cleyet-Marrel

 

The Location: Gabonese Rainforest, Africa

Dany Cleyet-Marrel and Christoph Both-Asmus have chosen to shoot ‘The Tree Walker’ in Gabon, Africa. The Gabonese rainforest is equatorial, therefore the first three hours after sunrise are always windless. This is necessary while operating the ‘Canopy Bubble’.  Also the Canopy in the Gabonese rainforest grows more dense than elsewhere, this too is necessary for Christoph’s performance.


The Tree Walker is a performative film project that challenges gravity physically as well as aesthetically. Christoph Both-Asmus deals with weightlessness, levitation, and flight of the human body, which has been a dream of mankind throughout centuries. Despite common sense, the artist tries to create the illusion of escaping earth’s gravity. In his new work The Tree Walker, Christoph Both-Asmus emphasises the continuity between man and nature, which place this art work within the tradition of the sublime aesthetics and the canon of romanticism.
— Adam Nankervis, Ph.D Art Philosophy
 

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