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With the Hailuoto Pines

Practicing with a pine in Hailuoto, already for a week, during my residency in Kulttuuritalo Päiväkoti (see here), where I am planning to stay for the whole month of April. Hailuoto, a large island outside Oulu in the Bothnian Bay (see here) is rather far north in Finland, which means that the winter is lingering on. While I am writing this there is a soft snowfall, and the piles of snow along the roads are melting very, very slowly. Nevertheless, spring is approaching. Besides my daily practice with the pine next door, I hope to meet other pines introduced to me by local artists that I have met here. One such pine I have already recorded, Eija’s Pine, which awaits her approval to be uploaded online. See still image here:

I went to see a local celebrity, the Askelin pine, a few days ago, and wrote a small note about my visit on my personal blog (see here), but did not feel any urge to pose or perform with that tree. I would like to find a tree to perform with, or write a letter to, or perhaps even try to interview, in order to use in a “provocation” that I have promised to create for the Pluriversity project (see here). I forgot that the interview with a pine in Örö last autumn, which I thought I could use as an example, was made in Swedish. And to use a language that most people would not understand in Arizona would be a rather useless provocation, I guess. In any case I will be performing as part of the fourth Be-Coming Tree event on 24 April here, see press info:

That performance will take place with my first pine friend, the pine I practice with daily. For the performance I will try to attach a small swing to one of its branches, in order to be able to perform for an hour. Hanging from the branch – as I do in the press photo – for that duration would be too much of challenge, or rather completely impossible for me right now.

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On the lowest branch again

Year of the Ox – On the Lowest Branch (March)

After several weeks of thaw season, with the ice melting and only a narrow bridge left to walk across to the island on – which I did not have the courage to try, unlike some of my braver colleagues – the sea was now open. There is still plenty of ice on this side of the jetty, which will make for large ice floes blocking the passage at some point, but for now there was no problem. A group of us got a ride across with the caretaker. The idea is to get at least some of the rowing boats to sea today, despite the rainy weather. My main interest to get to the island, however, was to be able to make my image with the birch within the month of March, as planned.

While waiting for the ice to melt I have considered various alternatives to a monthly calendar, like “The Four Seasons”, or better still, “The Seven Seasons”, or something similar. That might become a relevant option, if I have trouble getting to the island for other reasons, such as my coming visit to Hailuoto Island in the north in April, or my stay at the Eckerö Post House in July. That remains to be seen. For now I am done with March.

It was nice meeting the birch after six weeks; I began this calendar on fifteenth of February, in bright sunlight and lots of snow. Today there is a soft drizzle, wind from the south and most of the snow is gone, at least around the birch. A manmade birds’ nest is lying on the ground next to the tree; it was probably covered by snow last month. And finding exactly the same position for the camera tripod was not so easy, because I had no other mark than the branch of the small oak tree, but I guess I managed reasonably well.

My main occupation during this month has been visiting the sea-buckthorn on the mainland, on the shore further towards the west, and only three visits remain – the month is ending. Returning to Harakka Island after a break, whether due to bad weather or travels elsewhere or some other reason, always reminds me of how excellent a space it is for working and getting things done, at least compared to working at home as I have done during these pandemic times.

I do miss Örö Island, too, although spending a week there, as I did in the beginning of January and in the end of February, is something else compared to working here in a house full of colleagues and with more than twenty years of memories and materials surrounding me. Instead of returning to Örö in March – I planned a series of monthly visits but did not receive the funding I hoped for, so that plan might have to be adjusted – I am going to spend a month on another island, on Hailuoto in the north. More of that at the end of the week…