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Richard William Wheater

Tree and Scooters, 2013
Procession performance

Tree and Scooters is a performance in which the artist invites Vespa and Lambretta riders to take part in a public procession with their scooters.  This took place at each of the Acts of Making venues on the opening weekend of the festival.

Acts of Making, Gateshead.  Richard William Wheater, Tree and Scooters, 2015.  Photo: Sophie Mutevelian.

The processional performance:   
19 scooter riders were asked to follow the artist on a route that took them on roads through varied public spaces.  Each of the scooters carried a flag, which together display the image of a plastic poplar tree.  The procession took the ‘tree’ to it’s final resting place during the festival, where it remained on display for the duration of the festival. 
The procession is a large and visible statement about man’s effect on the environment and our relationship with the natural world in towns and cities. Through this performance Wheater provides a ceremonial end for the depicted poplar tree, which represents the natural world. The scooter riders act as sombre standard bearers.

Acts of Making, Plymouth. Richard William Wheater, Tree and Scooters, 2015.  Photo: FotonowTree and Scooters is reminiscent of a traditional British folk procession. Horse-drawn carts and straw dolls have been replaced with scooters and flags. The crafted and personalised scooters used in the procession themselves have a strong place in contemporary British folk art culture.

Acts of Making, Plymouth. Richard William Wheater, Tree and Scooters, 2015.  Photo: Fotonow

About the artist:
Richard William Wheater has developed a strong body of work as a neon artist, but regularly works across different disciplines such as performance and installation art. Collaborating with others, such as the scooter groups in this project, is also an important part of his practice. Working with others and presenting his work outside a gallery enables him to engage with a much larger group of people and to experiment with how his work is presented.

Other artists in Acts of Making;

Catherine Bertola
Keith Harrison
Owl Project
Mah Rana
Clare Twomey