John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
Now these are some trees with personality.
Know what the problem with trees is? They have no personality; they're just bundles of bark and leafy stuff blending into nature's verdant background.
Now this lumber you'll remember – most likely late at night when you hear boughs creaking ominously outside. Rooted in the prized soil of Paris' Parc de Saint-Cloud, home of Marie Antoinette's rose garden, the trees bear faces that are alternately twisted in grimaces, bellowing in anger or frowning in the intensest way possible. The copse of anthropomorphic foliage is freaky enough to make you want to run for a chainsaw.
Photographer and light artist Clément Briend is responsible for summoning this hostile hardwood. He created each huge face, or what he calls a "gargoyle," using several different projectors that he modified to handle large formats. The spectacle has vanished since going up for a brief time in August, but Briend took these photos so we all could be subjected to the disapproving glares of his devilish foliage.
Perhaps parks departments can look into how effective these light gargoyles are versus "Don't Climb the Trees" signs:
Briend gargoyled these trees earlier this year in Phnom Penh:
All images courtesy of Clément Briend.