Exposition

Working With a Witches’ Broom / Att Arbeta med en Markvast (2015)

Annette Arlander

About this exposition

en
This exposition explores the specific materiality that a Witches’ Broom offers for performance-based artworks, referring to ideas on plant-thinking by Michael Marder (2013) and on vibrant matter by Jane Bennett (2010). A witches’ broom, Taphrina betulina, is a fungus that afflicts certain birch trees and causes outgrowths of small twigs. With such a bunch of sticks I performed for camera and live on several occasions during the years 2006-2008 creating variations with only a few elements. Working with various materials – organic matter, digital moving images and recorded speech – and the various combinations of them, including the versions discarded during the process, provides a starting point for looking at the small transformations that produce difference and for proposing variation as one of the basic methods for artistic research.

sv
Den här expositionen undersöker den särskilda materialitet en Markvast erbjuder för arbeten som utgår från performance, och refererar till Michael Marders analys av växttänkande (2013) samt Jane Bennetts idéer om vibrerande materia (2010). En markvast eller häxkvast, Taphrina betulina, är en svampsjukdom som ansätter vissa björkar och förorsakar tillväxtstörningar av små förgreningar. Med en sådan snårhärva uppträdde jag för kamera och live vid flera tillfällen under åren 2006-2008 och skapade variationer med några få element. Arbetet med diverse material –organisk materia, digital rörlig bild och inbandat tal – och olika kombinationer av dem, inklusive versioner som slopats under processen, erbjuder en utgångspunkt för att betrakta de små förvandlingar som gör skillnad och för att föreslå variation som en av de grundläggande metoderna för konstnärlig forskning.
typeresearch exposition
date18/01/2014
published30/03/2015
last modified30/03/2015
statuspublished
share statusprivate
affiliationUniversity of the Arts Helsinki
licenseAll rights reserved
urlhttps://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/61895/66692
doihttps://doi.org/10.22501/ruu.61895
published inRUUKKU - Studies in Artistic Research
portal issue3.
connected toStockholm University of the Arts


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RUUKKU portal comments: 2
Åsa Uander-Scharin 26/03/2015 at 13:31

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.

Hanna Johansson 26/03/2015 at 13:34

Tässä ekspositiossa tarkastellaan koivussa kasvanutta tuulenpesäsientä. Tämän kasvin tai sienen erityistä materiaalisuutta sekä edelleen sitä, miten materiaalisuus ilmenee käsiteltävissä taiteellisissa esityksissä. Kokonaisuus on selvästi toimivampi nyt kuin ensimmäisessä versiossa. Aihe on tiivistynyt, tekstin intensiteetti on kasvanut ja kokonaisuus on argumentiltaan loogisempi.

 

Tämä työ vastaa paremmin kirjoituskutsun jälkimmäiseen -- materiaalisuuden affektiivisuutta ja intensiteettejä painottavaan -- suuntaukseen. Materiaalisuuden tarkastelu ei kuitenkaan suoraan asetu tähänkään materialismin uuteen tutkimussuuntaan, sillä tässä korostuu materiaalin orgaanisuuden ja ei-orgaanisuuden kysymykset ja täten ei-inhimillisen materiaalisuuksien moninaiset haasteet.

 

Eksposition alkaa kiinnostavalla ajatuksella kielen materiaalisuudesta ja sen suhteesta käsiteltävään asiaan eli tuulenpesään ja nyt kielen, ja kasviajattelun mahdollisuuden teema kulkee kiinnostavana juonteena läpi tekstin. Tekstiosuudessa ei kuitenkin lopulta hyödynnetä kaikkia siinä käynnistettyjä materiaalisuuteen liittyviä ajatuskulkuja. Tämä ei kuitenkaan haittaa juonen seuraamista, ja muita tulkintapolkuja tekijä voi kehitellä myöhemmin.

 

Ekspositio sisältää selkeästi esitetyn tutkimuskysymyksen tai kysymyksiä, ja siinä perustellaan näkökulma ja käytetyt metodit. Kirjallisessa osuudessa ollaan tietoisia tämän työn laajemmasta kontekstista eikä sen erillinen esittely tuntunut tarpeelliselta. Toisaalta taiteellisen osuuden kontekstualisointi auttaa nyt lukijaa hahmottamaan tämän työn suhdetta sekä nykyiseen että hiukan aiempaan taiteen kenttään. Ekspositio tuottaa uutta tietoa ja oivalluksia ja se tarjoaa kiinnostavia ja älyllisesti haastavia tapoja tehdä taidetta “luonnonmateriaalin” kanssa.

 

Kokonaisuus on monin tavoin ansiokas; selkeä ja rakenteellisesti systemaattinen. Ekspositio käsittelee ajankohtaisia kysymyksiä kasvien kanssa toimimisesta ja siihen liittyvää etiikkaa. Näin sen voi nähdä myös  laajentavan ei-inhimillisen alaa tai ainakin täydentävän ihmisen ja ei-inhimillisen välisistä suhteista ja kanssakäymisistä käytävää keskustelua. Jossain kohdin teorian ja taiteellisen osuuden yhteensovittamista voisi edelleen olla notkeampaa, mutta toisaalta teoreettiset käsitteiden avaamisessa on onnistuttu hyvin niin että lukija pääsee kiinni olennaisiin teoreettisiin ajatuskulkuihin vaikka ei tuntisikaan näitä lähestymistapoja entuudestaan. Kielen ja kasvin materiaalisen hahmon ja tunnun yhteydet tulevat hienosti esiin kolmikielisessä foneettisessa runoelmassa tuulenpesästä mutta nyt tekijä on vienyt ajatuksen astetta pidemmälle, verbaalisen kielen rajalle. Ajatus radikaalista kielen vaihdosta jää kytemään mieleen.

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