Liquid Bark: on grafting and the reciprocity of tree and human sensitivities

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    Liquid Bark is a poetical grafting and theoretical musing generated from the author’s holistic wanderings with a sycamore tree in Humlegården, Stockholm. Written in response to performance scholar Arlander’s provocation on “the framing of the image and the distance to the camera, when trying to perform with entities of the size of a sycamore” (2019), Liquid Bark uses blurred digital images that move slowly across the surface of a screen and the author’s body in order to question reciprocities found in tree and human sensitivities,and how these may be communicated. The application of blurring aims to erase the cut in time that an image can evoke, and seeks to draw attention to the fluctuating minutia of inner body responses that occur in the perception of such images, which for the author were akin to some of the felt embodied experiences with the Humlegården sycamore tree. This use of photomediation as understood by Kuc and Zylinska “adopts a process and time-based approach to images…that intertwine[s] the spatial and temporal nature of a photograph…in order to capture the fluid dynamism of mediation”(2016:12). Within the expanding field of plant thinking (Gagliano, Irigaray, Mancuso) philosopher Marder challenges and subverts established identities of the human and non-human by “inserting vegetal perspectives into bodies of work” (2016:18). Liquid Bark adopts this form of grafting, comparable to a critical response or performance, which is developed with citing and transplanting foreign texts into a body of writing or work. As Marder asserts, “[g]rafts unfold within the in-between space where previously unimagined forms of thinking eventually come to life” (2016:18). LiquidBark is also a call to gentleness after Dufourmantelle (2018), which speaks to the deep and layered temporalities experienced in the human-tree encounter and to an intimate revolution of gentleness, based on vitality rather than sentimentality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2019
    EventPSi#25 Elasticity, Performance Studies International Annual Conference - University of Calgary , Calgary , Canada
    Duration: 4 Jul 20197 Jul 2019


    ConferencePSi#25 Elasticity, Performance Studies International Annual Conference
    Internet address


    • photomediation
    • gentleness
    • blurring
    • tree


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    • Liquid Light

      MAN, MICHELLE., Jul 2020.

      Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther (conference)peer-review

      Open Access

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