Last visits to the trees this year

 

This was the last time I visited the sycamore in Humlegården and the beech tree in Djurgården, at least this year. Although I will probably visit the trees again at some point next year, today I did the last recordings of this one-year project. 2017 has been  my first year performing with plants, which involved visiting these two trees in Stockholm and two other trees in Helsinki. The performances with the trees in Stockholm are documented with still-images on a separate page on the Research Catalogue, here. (Scroll down to see the last images.) The actual material is moving image, video, and I will begin editing it in January, in my new study somewhere at DOCH (Dans och Cirkus Högskolan), I guess. This time the weather in Stockholm was wet, the sky cloudy and the atmosphere therefore rather gloomy, despite all the Christmas lights and decorations. Both my visits took place before noon, but the images look like evening. Perhaps there is something wrong with my camera adjustments.

While sitting in the Sycamore, leaning against its wet trunk, I realized how little I pay attention to the tree I am sitting on and performing with. I touch them but rarely really look at them. The other trees nearby, in front of me where I sit, and their old bark full of moss, I am much more familiar with. Finishing a great book by Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble – Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Duke University Press 2016), which is all about various forms of becoming-with and sym-poietic thinking, (see this brief lecture by her on vimeo) has sensitized me to my lack of knowledge and understanding regarding my collaborators. That is something  to start working on next year. Her SF tools – speculative fabulation, speculative feminism, science fiction, science fact and string figures, so far – are not the first ones that I would grab, attuned as I am to down-to-earth documentation and breathing as meditation. Perhaps I should learn composting from her to begin with. Looking more closely at the tree I have been sitting on was the least I could do, now, so I took some close-ups, although that has not much to do with sym-poiesis, I admit. Here is the bark of the left branch of the sycamore trunk I have been leaning against:

And here is the branch of the beech – if it is a beech – that I am sitting on, or in, including a close up of the bark on the branch I lean on to my right:

More of this next year…

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Annette Arlander

artist