Annette Arlander explores the specific materiality a witches’ broom offers as a collaborator. In a few small performances, she has varied and combined these basic elements in various ways. The purpose of her exposition is, besides looking at the similarities and dissimilarities among these variations, to experiment with changing the language.
The artistic process is discussed in an earlier book chapter. In this RUUKKU exposition the public performances and the artistic processes are made clear by images, sound tracks and video documentations.
The research issue is contextualized in terms of theoretical issues such as Michael Marder’s Plant–Thinking which invites to consider the witches’ broom’s existence as a living being, something resembling a plant without really being one, and Jane Bennett book Vibrant Matter where she summarizes her view on matter downplaying or evading the difference between the organic and the inorganic, the animate and the inanimate, and claims some degree of agency to all matter.
The issue of the materiality of the witches’ broom leads to the question of the materiality of the digital video material. In public performances Arlander performs with video projections and claims that they have been her most important partners.
The research is thoroughly accomplished and the dialogue between her art and contemporary philosophy is stimulating and fruitful.
The exposition Working with a Witches’ Broom consists of two parts, discussion and demonstration. In the discussion the reader is led very smoothly and convincingly into the project, while navigation through the demonstration part is not quite as easy. Given the author’s call that the two parts can be read, watched and listened to in the order we prefer, it would be desirable if the demonstration was presented and organized in a more clear way.
The best about this exposition is the consistent link between research issues, theory, art practice and presentation formats. The thoughts, knowledge and insights are presented and shared in a straightforward, generous and inclusive manner.
The concept with varying versions of Working With a Witches' Broom, multilingualism, Marder’s Plant-Thinking and Bennett’s Vibrant Matter form an exciting field where the project's various impulses stimulate new thinking in the dialogue between art and philosophy.