'How to become a tree' - A performance in which the artist covers herself with soil and becomes a place for plants to grow. Performance video made by Zendinger. First performed on the15th of January 2020, at the HKU conservatory Utrecht
How to become a tree
becoming part of nature
In October 2019 Annabel started a project named: How to become a tree. How to become a tree is a project in which the artist searches for ways to be part of nature.
This project has a literal approach in which the almost childish longing to become something else takes on an poetic form. Like the title suggests, she researches if one can experience being like a tree. One example: during practice she trains herself to stand like a tree for hours. In this example she tries to connect with her surroundings (this can be anywhere: a forest, field, city center) by becoming present.
In these projects she often creates pictures that appeal to the
imagination. She uses film, live performance and
photography, mostly accompanied by sound.
The way Annabel sees it 'How to become a tree' could become a life project in which artist and project will continue to grow together.
"The most astonishing habit of nature is that she is constantly moving in an unpredictable way. That makes her almost impossible to study, I can only approximate her"
In her methods of studying nature she collects data about moments experienced in nature and hopes to learn something about the moment that creates the experience, and to understand what makes it so powerful. Recording audio, calculating distances, collecting objects or rhythms, writing about the experience, making music after or while experiencing are examples of collecting data.
However, she doesn't document everything.
"TIt is not always necessary to capture or approximate the temporary movements of nature for further use."
If one doesn’t capture the moment, the actual live experience becomes more valuable, for it can never be revisited, except in memory.
Becoming a space to grow (click on the pictures for more). Annabel has been experimenting with making plants wearable, this has brought interesting challenges on her path, both practical and ethical. In June 2020 Annabel started a collaboration with Isabelle Eliens on this subject. Portraits made by Noa Schouten.
How to become a tree, de kleine aarde - A performance in which the artist covers herself with soil. Performed on the15th of January 2020, at the HKU conservatory Utrecht
Raising oak trees (click on the pictures for more). Annabel has planted seven little oaks. They are growing at home so that she can study their growth from up close. An interesting thought: we give our pets names but it's less common to name a plant. I think it's both very humanizing. One of the trees named 'Zandel' has been carried around to wherever Annabel went for two months.
The experience of standing as a tree (click on the pictures for more). "The experience of standing as a tree gives me a tiny insight of what it is like to be one. It makes me listen to the always changing sounds that surround me and it makes me more aware of other creatures moving the space.
Every moment is different also for the trees." The experience of standing like a tree is part of the research 'How to become a tree' in which Annabel tries to find ways to feel more connected with trees and eventually feel more connected with the world we live in. Being rooted as a tree.
How to become a tree, de kleine aarde (click on the pictures for more). The first exposition about the research behind becoming a tree. Exposition: from the 15th of January until the 10th of February 2020, HKU Mariaplaats