00:00 a.m., June 11th. Entering the village of Korkeaoja, It's 15 kilometers north of the Kokemäki administrative centre, 16 kilometres west of the province line. Never seen so many pine barks in my life. As W.C. Fields would say, I'd rather be here than Philadelphia.
Last Thursday I saw a wholly pink rainbow landing to the area where I had planned to place my work. Can I take that as a sign? Maybe I'll have to try to locate the exact spot next week.
On Wednesday I found a place from the nearby forest that the local moose is using as her toilet. I was thinking that this would be a perfect place for my work. Let's see, maybe not. How would you feel if I'd be standing in your toilet while you are using it?
The road leading to that place was really hard to travel because of all the bushes and branches blocking the path. Would the harshness of the path suit the work? I kind of like the idea that you need to make an effort to find the work from the forest, that way you are coming closer to the state of mind more suitable to experience the work. It's also kind of funny that we are traveling this long forest path just to see this one tree, when there's trees all over.
During the first week of residency I've had the pleasure to end up in these enlightening talks with the lovely people involved with Käsitekesä. There have been conversations about this more sensitive and wider way to approach living and other species. That has been compared to rut-minded clearcuts and to the way how the fashions in values have been towards individualism.
For many years, I think, there has been a tendency towards this, for lack of a better term, new spiritualism. This need to find one's own relation to their spiritual side that is not given(or forced) by any religious institution. Many times this different approach has been found from the depths of the forest. In a way we are going back in that sense, back to nature (isn't everything natural?).
Maybe this urge to connect with nature and to find one's own spirituality, to realize that we are not one but many, relates to at least two things. To the thing that natural sciences had, in a way, killed God and from there on, we have been lost in the whirl of individualism, trying to find a new explanation for our existence. Maybe that way we've also lost our communitive ways. Secondly, the environmental part; how our oil-driven behaviour, our ways of using nature and so on, have brought us to the situation where the Sixth Extinction is happening, for example.
Luckily, with the easily inspiring works by the likes of professor Donna Haraway and philosopher Timothy Morton, this awareness and the focusing of attention towards these much needed "new" ways of approaching environmental issues and our ways of being in general, have became also the cool thing to do. We are not above nature, we are it and in it with others, not without, and we need to try to stay with the troubles we have brought with us.
At the moment I am building this habitation for mediation purposes. It will be for everyones use. The work (working title goes by the name of ”The observation tree”) is trying to deal with these issues and interests mentioned above. On the other hand, I'm trying to get connected with nature around me and within me and become a tree. To get the tree experience and view of the world. To observe the forest as a whole entity and that way to become one with it. On the other hand, to meditate with the question: what is the work of a forest and is there a way that I could take part in it?
At this point, there's at least one thing that I feel to be true: we are all trees, interconnected by the vast underneath (underneath at least in the sense of the unconscious) web of invisible roots. Polypores growing on our side and usnea hanging from our limbs.
Image by Milla Tervakangas