Radical Action Reaction (RAR), an ArtCOP21 project by Ackroyd & Harvey

Radical Action Reaction (RAR), an ArtCOP21 project by Ackroyd & Harvey

Ackroyd & Harvey imagined the Radical Action Reaction Project, a collaborative, monumental and long-term work, co-produced by COAL and the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle for ArtCOP21

The Radical Action Reaction (RAR) project stems from Ackroyd & Harvey’s long-standing interest in plants and the resilience of nature. It is a continuation of the work “Beuys’ Acorns”, the acorns of Beuys’ oaks .

In 2007, the artists collected and planted acorns in the United Kingdom from the 7,000 oak trees planted by the German artist Joseph Beuys in 1982 at the documenta in Kassel. From some 200 young shoots, they created the work Beuys’ Acorns, presented several times in renowned institutions in France and the United Kingdom.

The RAR project, for Radical Action Reaction, is composed of three successive and interdependent phases: RADICAL, TREE ON TOUR an eight-week interactive tour of Beuys’ Acorns in cultural venues and public institutions in France; ACTION. THE TREE CEREMONY, a monumental installation and a ceremonial tree planting by the artists in Paris at the National Museum of Natural History and at the Arboretum of Chèvreloup (Yvelines), and a wave of tree plantings in about fifteen places in France during the COP21. This will be followed by a series of Reactions implemented in the long term by the twenty or so cultural and scientific partners involved in the project.

This comprehensive device aims to convey the potential of art as a form of environmental activism.



December 3-7, 2015

At the National Museum of Natural History and at the Arboretum of Chèvreloup (Yvelines).

Installation and ceremonial planting co-produced by COAL and the National Museum of Natural History for ArtCOP21

On December 3, as the COP21 negotiations began, Ackroyd & Harvey inaugurated themonumental installation of a majestic oak tree surrounded by a drapery of living grass at the Jardin des Plantes. The tree, thus magnified and staged, pays homage to Beuys’ statement that “the world must be made into a great forest, cities and environments must be built like forests”. The work is an aesthetic call to cover our cities with trees and plants, to prepare us for an uncertain future .

Science shows how crucial forests are to the long-term health of cities: a 10% increase in tree cover can keep temperature increases below 4°C and make cities invulnerable to climate change until 2080.


This oak tree with a strong symbolic value was chosen for its ability to adapt to the changing Parisian climate and for its slow growth that captures CO2 in a sustainable way. Carrying the hope and memory of the coP21, a decisive meeting to negotiate a binding international agreement on climate, This tree was planted at the end of the climate conference, in the Arboretum of the National Museum of Natural History, joining the illustrious trees that punctuate our history of natural sciences.

This planting catalyzes a series of citizen plantings and reactions in a network of committed cultural structures in raising awareness of climate issues, including the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, the Zoo-Jardin Botanique in Mulhouse, La Station, Nice, Les Moulins/Studio Orta, Boissy Le-Chatel, the Domaine de Chamarande, the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, the Cimetière des Gonards, the City of Versailles, and the INRA Centre de Versailles-Grignon

Download the complete presentation of the RAR project

A COAL project to be found on ArtCOP21



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  • About us
    About us

    COAL mobilizes artists and cultural actors on societal and environmental issues and accompanies the emergence of a new culture of ecology through its actions such as the COAL Prize, curating exhibitions, advising institutions and communities, European cooperation, and the animation of conferences, workshops and the first dedicated website Ressource0.com


    COAL has been awarding the COAL Prize Art and Environment every year since 2010 and the COAL Student Prize - Culture & Diversity since 2020.

  • Projects

    Major projects linked to the major events in political ecology, in connection with natural or urban environments.

  • Artistic direction
    Artistic direction

    About fifty exhibitions throughout France, cultural actions, works in the public space, and project support to contribute to the emergence of a new culture of ecology.


    Cooperation programs on a European and international scale, support for institutions in their ecological transition through tailor-made accompaniment and training, promotion of arts and ecology issues through publications and numerous conferences and workshops.