Volume 18, 2017
May Zindel, Abner Quiroz
A Few Little Prunes
e-Tree, a Critical Art Practice Based on Ziarek
The objective of this paper is to present an approach we will call, “critical art practice,” which we understand as an art form that raises awareness and generates community participation. In the case surveyed here we focus on the tree devastation in the city of Puebla, Mexico. The practical input of this proposal consists of designing “e-Tree,” a mobile app that allows users, through mobile phone images, to inform or share with others, in real time, information about excessively pruned trees or trees being cut unnecessarily in a specific location. The e-Tree app runs on Android devices, but it will be ported to iOS and Windows. It enables users to easily store and share photo images and facilitates the documentation of the location photographed and the capture date. Another feature of the app will show users the pruned trees nearest to their location and display pictures that other people have taken of the affected tree(s). These images may be downloaded, edited, and further disseminated. Moreover, users will be invited to intervene into the physical situation of the affected trees, and their actions and results can also be posted on the app. The theoretical framework employed in this critical art practice is based on The Force of Art (2004) by Krzysztof Ziarek, who engages with “critical art” and proposes a “power-free art.” The paper analyzes these theoretical frameworks of critical and power-free art theories and points to a way of conceptualizing the participative and “critical art practice” proposed here.