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Örö Trees

Midsummer in Örö

Many coincidences resulted in the opportunity to visit Örö again during an extended midsummer weekend 25-29 June, the most important of them being the Öres summer exhibition. My contribution to the exhibition consists of several parts, and my main task now was to organise the participatory performance “Swinging in a Pine” (working title) on Midsummer day 26 June at 3 pm. Hanging a small swing in one of the pines in the hotel area I planned to video record the visitors willing to swing there. All in all 19 people accepted the invitation, and now the next stage is to edit the video in such a manner that the movement continues while the swingers change. When ready the video will be visible on the Research Cataloge, here, and hopefully also on the Öres exhibition pages, probably here. Later, in the beginning of September, I will try to project the video back on the pine and swing synchronised with the people swinging on video. This is a technique I have experimented with on several occasions a few years back, and also described the process in an article in a book which is unfortunately not open access. (“Process as Performance or Variations of Swinging”. In Hetty Blades & Emma Meehan (eds.) Performing Process: Sharing Dance and Choreographic Practice. Intellect Books. 2018, pp 99-118.)

testing the swing

Besides for this performance I also came to install the triptych “On the Edge I-III”, based on still-images from the video, which is part of the online exhibition (see here), created during my Öres residency on the island in November 2020. The triptych could join the exhibition only now, a few days after the opening, because it was on display in the exhibition “How to do things with performance: epilogue” in Hietsu Paviljonki between 23-24 June as part of the University of the Arts Helsinki Research Pavillion #4.

On the Edge I-III (HTDTWP-epilogue, Research Pavillion)

After carrying the works from Helsinki to Örö by public transport, via Turku, I managed to find the space, which was assigned to me in the barrack near the residency house, thanks to the orange sign or name tag left in the room. After some experiments and attempts at placing the triptych in its planned order, I opted for a site-specific solution. The images fitted perfectly into the wooden shelf in the room, and I and III could be placed there. The middle part was placed on the opposite wall, visible from the door, to help people find the work.

On the Edge II, Öres exhibition, Örö
On the Edge I and III, Öres exhibition, Örö
the sign

Besides these tasks directly related to the exhibition, I alsohad the opportunity to continue my private performances, on the one hand with “the pine next door”, which I began in January 2021, holding hands with one of the two pines growing next to each other daily, every day when I am on the island. And on the other hand my talks with the pine on the shore, recording the fourth “Tala om det för tallen” (Tell it to the Pine), which is already transcribed and edited, available online. Both these recurring performances are documented on the same page, here.

The island is very different in summer time, especially when full of visitors, who nevertheless merged surprisingly well into the surroundings. The party people were probably staying in the harbour and the bar there, and the ones walking or bicycling around the island were here exactly because they appreciate the peace and silence of the place. Some of them might even be interested in finding the well signposted artworks among the army remains. The feeling of summer paradise is nevertheless overwhelming, and I do not feel like looking for new pine trees to perform with, not now. One reason might simply be that I have encountered quite a few of them already. But, there is no lack of more pine trees to meet, to sit on, to talk to, to holds hands with, or simply to admire on this island…

By Annette Arlander

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