In Helsinki and Stockholm

Talking with trees is my main occupation this year, or so it seems. Sure, there have been some seminars and lectures, and now recently moderating an interesting symposium on the theme of forgetfulness, Lethe, at SKH in Stockholm. I have also participated in two library talks with Eleanor Bauer about our respective X-position publications, first about her work Nora the Many and then one week later about my old book Performing with Trees. Mainly, however, I have devoted my time to Pondering with a Pine in the Park, in Helsinki, in English, for a series of episodes in the podcast Talking with Trees, with the latest conversation on 28 February. I have been exploring a conversation in Swedish, Tallar Emellan (Between Pines), in Stockholm and in Helsingfors or Helsinki, as a messenger between a pine in Brunnsparken and one in Nobelparken. And now the conversation has developed into a series of experiments with various modes of communication. After writing and reading letters, and then talking and recording letters to be read aloud, we know experimented with humming. First I tried to hum a little next to the pine in Helsinki, and then to repeat that humming or something like that to the pine in Nobelparken. And of course the reply took place by humming again. What the next step might be is something for the pine in Helsinki to find out.

I sometimes feel rather lazy, not having any daily or semi-daily practice with pines at present, and rather awkward in my attempts at serving as a messenger between pines. When I edited the video material from last year, including the short versions of the Stockholm videos, With the Pine in Nobelparken, and the Helsinki videos, With the Pine in Kaivopuisto Park, and experimented with triptychs as well, I nevertheless realised that what I am doing this year is something else. Things develop, albeit slowly. The letter written to a pine on Örö in November 2020 (and peer reviewed four times for various journals) was finally published as “Writing with a Pine: Addressing a Tree as Audience”, a few days ago in the context of Finnish theatre research. Although it sometimes feels like I am only repeating myself, perhaps things move and change after all.

Categorized as English

By Annette Arlander


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