I learn about about the ways in which I can begin to distinguish the sounds of different birds, about the collectivity of camping, about the force of water and the plurality of ways in which we think about nature as either healing or destructive. I feel I am wandering through a living archive, this visual and aural landscape revealing more and more activity. Walking is an action equated with knowing in this natural maze packed with surprises.
It reminds me of my first encounter in the welcome field, with Action Hero’s James Stenhouse and his brother Rob, sat around an early morning fire, coffee brewing in a pot, reminiscing about childhood, the countryside, survival and what nature is really like.
Antti Laitinen’s Tree has left a vestige at the edges of the campsite; a tree held together by nuts and bolts. In a durational performance, Laitinen felled a tree and transformed the natural into the artificial, surfacing questions surrounding nature and agency. Not far from the campsite’s new landmark, Zierle & Carter’s Ways of Water: A Love Potion for Nature is underway. A woman is perched high on a tree, a rope connecting her to a man stood on the soggy ground, ropes between them. Red balloons are making their way towards the tree whilst messages are returning on the way back, creating a visual interventions that crosses the field in magical anticipation for a viewer.
This is a different kind of space- one free from discourses on public and private, with its surprisingly nuanced rhythms that make the days undulate and choreograph our encounters. With these gentle contributions to this natural archive, the forest becomes not only the place of ritual, but also a space for appearances- perhaps an optimistic nod at the place of culture unrestrained by any conditioning. The collectivity is there, in nomadic networks and breezing encounters, in shape-shifting realities that conjure and evoke.
In its in collective dissonance, Up to Nature revealed not only how naturally nomadic live art is, but also what dialogues it can create in search for more authentic experiences, encountering nature in all its plurality, with all its surprises and agency. As Nic Green demonstrates in her own piece, it invited us to look and see each other.
And if my words are wrapped up in narratives, lost in shy nostalgia, it’s because they’re still there in the forest, and I’m trying to win them back.
To find out more about Up to Nature, visit the In Between Time website.
Jean-Luc Nancy. The Creation of the World, or Globalisation. New York: Suny Press, 2007. Print.