Annette Arlander

Proposal for contribution to the “lost conference” site:

In the draft program my contribution – Performing with Plants (Great Conversation 30 min.) Skype – was to take place on Thursday 26.3. in the time slot between 11.00 and 13.00.

I had not decided what parts of the project Performing with Plants (2017-2019) I would show before the conference was cancelled, but I am quite sure that I would not have selected the small video that I have chosen to present here now. It is in no way representative of the work done within the project; rather it was an experiment on the side, which now, however, seems more interesting, because it is linked to the logo of the further development of the project, Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees. That project I had had already initiated in the beginning of 2020 and that is what I am currently working on.

The video Ficus Macrophylla (2 min.11sec.)

A power-point presentation of the project and a list of the main results

The original abstract

Performing with Plants is an artistic research project at Stockholm University of the Arts in 2018-2019, funded by Vetenskapsrådet, the Swedish Research Council, which will be finished by the time of the conference. My proposal is to present some of the works created as part of this project for discussion. A brief summary of the research plan (from 2016) reads as follows:

"Performing with plants is an artistic research project, which develops and specifies the question how to perform landscape today. A new materialist and post-humanist perspective prompt 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 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.

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 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 oxygen-based life on the planet."

The project is archived on the RC in the form of a timeline

The links included in my proposal “by way of a portfolio”

Personal website:

Distribution Centre for Finnish Media Art

Profile on the RC:

What I would have presented at the conference today:

Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees (extracts)

The title refers to the photography book Meetings with Remarkable Trees (1996) by Thomas Pakenham, questioning what is remarkable and what is unremarkable, while focusing on individual trees. The medium is not photography, but performance for video and recorded voice, based on experiences in Performing with Plants at SKH in Stockholm (2018-2019). The presentation includes extracts of video works made in residencies in Johannesburg, South-Africa, and in Mustarinda, Finland in 2020.

Rethinking our relationship to other forms of life that we share this planet with 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 is part of that growing field.

See project blog

Project archive