Performing with Plants

The artistic research project develops and specifies the question how to perform landscape today.

Introduction

To perform and co-operate with plants and especially trees is an artistic research project  (2017-2020), which develops and specifies the question how to perform landscape today. It is a question Annette Arlander has worked with in various forms during several years. 

The question is not rhetorical; our relationship to the environment has dramatically changed due to global warming and other more or less manmade disasters and demands new approaches. A posthumanist perspective prompts us to rethink the notion landscape and to consider how the surrounding world consists of creatures, life forms and material phenomena with varying degrees of volition, needs and agency.

What forms of performing, realizing or activating landscape could be relevant in this situation? One possibility is to approach individual elements in a landscape, such as specific trees, and explore what can be done together with them, for instance how to perform for camera together.

The context

Rethinking our relationship to the environment is a central task for artists today. Artistic research can contribute through its capacity to allow and to generate hybrid forms of thinking and acting.

This project participates in the new materialist post-humanist discussion by way of a) developing artistic practices and producing art works that can critically question existing conventions and habits in our relationship to the environment and b) by theoretically reflecting, based on practical exploration, what it means to collaborate with plants and especially trees.

The importance of the project rests ultimately on the importance of the plants themselves – they are producing the preconditions for life on the planet in its current oxygen based form.