T R E E T I M E - INTRODUCTION
AN ONGOING MULTIFACETED RESEARCH PROJECT
Each tree is an individual creature who exhibits behaviours, makes decisions and actively responds to their environment.
I have always spent time being with trees. Over the years, this habit developed into a research project asking: How can we humans connect with trees and account for them in urban social paradigms?
My process is grounded in practice-based research. Involving spending time with trees, employing approaches which explore what ‘social’ means beyond a human-human domain and searching to perceive the common ground between humans/trees in terms of biology, behaviour and communicative capacities.
I developed this practice into a participatory artistic work in order to engage the public with this line of research. The participatory nature of the work allows people to contribute to - and continue with - my lines of questioning from their own subjective position.
This project is driven by my belief that if we can expand our personal connections and experiences with trees, we will feel a greater responsibility to account for them (and for the broader planet) within our lives, our societies, our ethics and our politics. Distilling a wish for large-scale shifts down to a personal connection between a human and a tree.
T R E E T I M E - THE SHOW
A PARTICIPATORY WORK MADE IN COLLABORATION WITH THOMAS SCHMOCKER
“It was immense… spending time with this tree taught me how to see all of the other trees”
“After doing Tree Time, I don’t know how people can think that nature is separate from humans”
"I remembered all of these others trees from my life after doing the practice, which I could not recall before hand. I got really excited by these memories"
"I became aware of how connected everything is and that we
don’t usually acknowledge this as we go about our lives"
Have you ever hung out with a tree...?
This participatory, live work invites you to be in company with a tree; exploring interspecies collaboration, sensitivity and sociality. Tree Time is centred around the sharing of an interspecies practice that has long been a part of Caitlin’s everyday life. It requires thinking beyond the human perspective to interrogate personal, interspecies relations with our vegetal friends.
Meeting participants at a hosting arts space, Caitlin will introduce this underlying practice of ‘Tree Time’ and relevant practicalities on a one-on-one basis. Each participant will be provided a headset and individually taken on a walk, to meet a tree with whom they will be left in company with.
Audio instructions from the headset will offer various pathways into the work. The audio offers questions to ponder as well as provocations that call for action through physical, sensorial or speculative investigation. Embedded in a sonic environment with an inquisitive atmosphere, these spoken words guide participants towards a social encounter with a tree.
Accessibility: Alternatives to audio and other aspects of the work are available. Tree Time seeks to allow for multiplicity and diversity of possible experiences. Accessibility queries and requests are eagerly welcomed.
Presented by City of Yarra (Melbourne, 2022); c3 contemporary artspace (Melbourne 2020); Inter Arts Centre (Sweden, 2019); Interference Lab, a research symposium organised by Malmö Academy of Music (Sweden, 2019); Index Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation (Sweden, 2018)
T R E E T I M E - THE PRACTICE
AN ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECT
Tree Time is an interspecies social practice. It is not necessarily an artistic practice, though uses artistic methods and paradigms to approach scientific and philosophical questions. It uses choreographic thinking and investigative bodily approaches to find out how we could socially engage with trees, and what this might mean both socio-ecologically.
Tree Time stems from the close relationship I have always had with trees, seeing them as individual creatures. All of whom exhibit behaviours, make decisions and actively respond to - and communicate with - the world around them (a view that has long been held by many cultures and that mainstream Western science has now come to support).
Influenced by Post-Humanism and Object Oriented Ontology, it can serve as a format to rethink modern conceptualisations of – and relationships with – ‘nature’. Bringing these large-scale questionings into the smaller scale of a personal connection between two a human and a tree.
Tree Time calls for a socio-ecological perspective on the modern, urban environment; asserting that artistic methods and philosophical consideration are necessary tools for working in this area. Positing this from a belief that if we are to reassess the position(s) of humans within ‘natural systems’, then we will need the unbound freedom, self-determination, creativity and sensitivity that art can afford us.
Caitlin's work with the practice of Tree Time and surrounding questions about human-nature relations and ecological art has been presented at research seminars organised by Victorian College of the Arts ((in)corporeal encounters), City of Yarra (Environmental networking event), Stockholm University of The Arts (Working With The Vegetal I & Working With The Vegetal III), Inter Arts Center and The Malmö Academy of Music (Interference Lab #8).