“Forest Mantra”

Site: Odenwald Forest, 8th International Forest Art Path, Darmstadt, Germany 2016

Forest Mantra: voicing boundaries between nature and human thought or, the distance between true and magnetic north

Magnetic north represents nature’s true north which is in constant motion while true north represents a human mathematical construct that positions ourselves on the earth. The difference created by the angle of these reference points is referred to as a variation. Two degrees is the variation of the Darmstadt Forest Art Path. We like to work between these two boundaries of nature and human thought.



Our work looks at transformation as the interaction and exchange between ‘Eiche’ a beautiful fallen Oak Tree and ourselves as site artists exploring the boundaries between nature and our thoughts. Some parts of Eiche were left alone revealing the beauty of nature itself, other parts were planed smooth and flat reflecting a soft human imprint on an otherwise round organic object. Other parts of our Oak were cracked due to the fall which we enhanced bridging the gap with rope and red beaded sutures … on another surface we carved bowls to catch the rain water nourishing her.

Our process involved solely the use hand tools we carried with us giving the dialogue a more even playing field. We exposed, through the rhythmic action of hand planing the oak, a series of layers revealing secrets both inside of Eiche and of ourselves that became a reverberation of sound like a mantra … a composition between Eiche and us. Working very slowly due to both the hardness of the oak and giving space to listen, created a give and take between the tree and our processes. This at times was a struggle and at other times an ease often exposing an exchange but also revealing the ecological wounds that human intervention imposes that can so often alter the course of nature. The use of trade beads in the work represented that dilemma for us. Trade beads used initially as a friendly gesture of trade between indigenous and colonialists also created wounds of domination and control.

The forest art path presented an active space and dialogue between nature, ourselves, the community and the art we make. We were challenged and inspired as Site Artists to engage in this interrelated process. It created a transformation from/to/and of the tree illustrating a respectful human intervention that pays homage to the importance of trees.

Thank you Eiche.

Kitty Mykka and Lance Belanger

Above Photo by Uli Gasper, Darmstadt 2016
all other images by Lance Belanger and Kitty Mykka

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