Over the last couple of days I have been working with Frank Abbott, in Nottingham. We are looking at ways to keep watch over the cherry blossom tree in Primary Studios (where we both have our artist studios) as the seasons change from Autumn to Winter to Spring, creating some kind of collective action in the week when the tree blossoms.
We went out to visit the tree yesterday to discover what type of tree it is (taking a photo of the yellow leaves before they all disappear using the Leafsnap app). As we got close enough to the increasingly bare branches we discovered the tree was in blossom, very partially, possibly a last dying bloom as the winter takes over. The day was practically springlike despite being the middle of November and we both felt a shock that the tree wasn’t as we thought it would be.
Seeing the tree in blossom in November brought the realisation that our commitment to watching over the tree goes beyond what the tree might mean to us and how it might help us mark time. This is a return to a theme from my previous work A Conversation Between Trees and it is becoming clear that we will be embarking on some kind of conversation with the tree, and that we have a lot to learn.
What does it means to give yourself over to an act of nature, to acknowledge the control of natural forces, beyond a material and human sense of time and place. In this context. In a playground, in a community/arts space, in Nottingham.
It is also a conversation about sacred places, tradition and rites. How do we connect with a tree in a city, in a playground, in a space like Primary Studios. Can we feel a connection with nature that is beyond our human actions and connections in this context?
In the spirit of Performing the Future can we commit to this act now and into the future? Can we continue to respond when the first blossoms of Spring appear on the tree every year onwards? No matter what the future brings.