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.
I feel like this is really important.
“You only own the top six inches.” I own every inch from dust to Hell’s breath. Fight me.