Joseph Beuys famously began planting seven thousand oaks for Kassel during Documenta 7 in 1982. Last December, the art collective Wooloo provided three thousand beds in Copenhagen for visitors to the UN climate summit. The project, “New Life Copenhagen,” housed, among others, a French hunger striker, Chinese youth activists, and the Peruvian shaman Angelica, who performed a healing ritual for the dying Mother Earth in the home of the CEO of a Danish insurance company. Finding free accommodation for activists, NGO employees, and delegates may sound like little more than a couch-surfing experiment for the Facebook generation, but it raises questions about ecology, citizenship, and public art: Is it art, or activism disguised as art, when two artists enable thousands of global citizens to take part in what many consider the most important global summit to date? These questions run parallel
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