By copyrighting his property as an artwork, he has prevented oil companies from drilling on it.
Peter Von Tiesenhausen has developed artworks all over his property in northern Alberta. There’s a boat woven from sticks that is gradually being reclaimed by the land; there is a fence that he adds to each year of his life, and there are many “watching” trees, with eyes scored into their bark.
Oil interests pester him continually about drilling on his land. His repeated rebuffing of their advances lead them to move toward arbitration. They made it very clear that he only owned the top 6 inches of soil, and they had rights to anything underneath. He then, off the top of his head, threatened them that he would sue damages if they disturbed his 6 inches, for the entire property is an artwork. Any disturbance would compromise the work, and he would sue.
Immediately after that meeting, he called a lawyer (who is also an art collector) and asked if his intuitive threat would actually hold legally. The lawyer visited, saw the scope of the work on the property, and wrote a document protecting the artwork.
The oil companies have kept their distance ever since.
This is but one example of Peter’s ability to negotiate quickly on his feet, and to find solutions that defy expectations.
In 2012 the Mexican ex-boyfriend of Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu sued him for $1M, alleging that Babeu had threatened to have him deported if the boyfriend were to out him. Babeu’s run for the US House fizzled shortly thereafter, but not before it was revealed that he spoken at an event staged by a group that wants to end illegal and most legal immigration and wants to end automatic citizenship for children born in the United States. Today Babeu is believed be one of the organizers behind an anti-immigration rally taking place in Oracle, Arizona, where busloads of migrant children will be delivered to a federal holding facility. Supporters of the children and anti-immigrant protesters are facing off at this writing. According to this live blog, in the photo Babeu is handing out flyers in support of the protesters’ First Amendment right to scream at the children.
BUT QUEER ASSIMILATION INTO THE POLICE FORCE IS A GOOD THING
Although New York’s Bronx is considered one of the most diverse communities in America out of which many subcultures originated, such as Hip Hop and Salsa, it’s still viewed as a no man’s land by many of the city’s inhabitants. Perhaps it is a matter of simple geography that many refuse to venture to the northernmost of the city’s five boroughs or, quite possibly, it may be the Borough’s malevolent reputation lingering from its tumultuous past.
From its earliest years, the Bronx has been a hotbed of immigrant working class families, but its image has largely been defined by the urban blight of the late 1960’s through to the 1980’s when arson, drug addiction and social neglect decimated many of its neighborhoods. For the families who have called this scarred landscape home, Orchard Beach, the only beach in the borough, was and remains a treasured respite from the sweltering confines of the concrete jungle. Built in the 1930s by urban planner Robert Moses, the beach carries the stigma as being one of the worst in New York and is commonly known as Horseshit Beach or Chocha Beach.
I began shooting portraits of Orchard Beach’s summertime regulars in 2005 shortly after moving to New York, realizing that the stigma attached to this oasis was largely unjustified - I felt compelled to engage with this community of working class families and colorful characters. The photographs in ‘Orchard Beach – The Bronx Riviera’ celebrate the pride and dignity of the beach’s visitors, working-class people.
Immediately catching the viewer’s eye is the extravagant style of many of the photographs’ subjects – a quest for identity and sense of belonging. Some individuals carry scars and markings that hint to their own personal histories, which often reflect the complex history of the borough itself. Within the gaze of those portrayed we see a community standing in defiance of popular opinion.
The six years I spent photographing Orchard Beach have not only given me the time and space to reflect on the importance of family and community, but also a sense of belonging and purpose. After having experienced the most profound grief when my older brother was brutally murdered, photography has not only offered me an opportunity to give a voice to a community often misunderstood but also a means of healing from the loss experienced.