On Muddy Paths Again

After a break of almost two weeks over Easter the scenery had changed remarkably; there was almost no snow. Only small patches on the path where the ice was packed tight by footsteps still had som snowy sludge; the rest was mainly mud, quickly drying. I noticed a big “wound” on the trunk of the spruce and wondered if somebody had tried to saw it into pieces and realized that this would be too much hard work (see image above). Or perhaps the mark had always been there, only covered with snow so I did not notice it before…

That was all I wrote on Sunday, a week ago, and then forgot to finish and publish the post. And that I noticed only after the busy week involving a Monday full of meetings in Stockholm and the rest of the week in Plymouth, UK, on returning home. The SAR (Society for Artistic Research) conference with the strange title Artistic Research will Eat Itself was an inspiring event that I was very happy to join together with the research project How To Do Things With Performance. We performed a semi-academic stage event called “Regurgitated Perspectives”. In the abstract we (Pilvi Porkola, Tero Nauha, Hanna Järvinen and me) promised a performance in four parts “where we create a space to think and play with critical approaches to artistic research: 1. Regurgitated voices, images (Video & Theremin); 2. The Wake: Speeches; 3. A body and Concepts; 4. A Hymn.”

My part in it was actually quite closely related to these repeated visits to the spruce stumps and the pines in Stockholm, because I showed a video consisting of a revisit to the site of and a remix of the Year of the Dog from 2007. In the abstract I wrote: “If honeybees produce honey by a process of regurgitation, could chewing one’s cud as an artist produce something equally valuable? Reflexivity and repetition in artistic research are explored by revisiting Day and Night of the Dog and Year of the Dog , from the video series, Animal Years (2003-2014), based on repeated visits to the same site. Here excerpts are remixed to be part of the performance.”

The reason we decided to make a performance was first a practical one; it was the only option among the given formats that we could do together, all four of us. And it was a challenge, of course; how could we combine four people with so very, very different practices into something meaningful. Although the form of the performance and the idea of a wake produced an atmosphere that was somehow strange, balancing between the absurd and the affected, it was quite an interesting experiment after all. – Nice to be back in Stockholm working with trees, though…






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Annette Arlander


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