Ever since I can remember, from the beginning of time
I have existed here, this place close to the shore of the Cali river.
Here I had to resist storms, rain, heat and humidity,
eating away parts of me.
I want to invite you to exist in this moment, here with me.
To look at me, listen to my stories and observations.
Sit in the hammock I have prepared for you
look up and watch me spread my branches
and reach towards the sun
dance with me
let me protect you with my long arms
give life to you and your surroundings
open your tired soul
connect with me and my ancient digital being
I am one of the last ones of my kind in this city.
In my lifetime I have been an observer of change and transformation.
I have felt the city and its humans develop, expand, take over this area.
Time spiders out into a variety of directions
circling back upon itself
My name is Samanea saman
Textile Installation and Audio Walk
in collaboration with Lucía Diegó
Installation realized in the gardens of Museo La Tertulia and at the exhibition space Casa de Mono in Cali (Colombia)
Between the branches of the Samán tree, hammocks and long strips of fabric, partly printed and embroidered, invite visitors to sit in, dance with, connect with and be attentive to the surroundings of the tree. With the help of these artistic prostheses, the tree will continue to grow with multispecies gestures. The tactile experience is augmented by a sound piece accessed via phone. Listen as the tree tells you its memories and stories about transformation, time and resistance.
Over the years, the Samán tree has remained in its place and resisted the weather, the seasons, and human decisions. The tree sensed the museum's construction, drastic changes and development of the area and life around it. The tree survived these processes of transformation and memorised all of them. A silent observer, not judging, but observing humans taking over its environment.
Often narratives about nature are used as an argument to enforce the gender gap and classify genders and sexualities that deviate from the heteronormative as »unnatural«, while we can point towards many examples of transition and same-sex partnership and reproduction in flora and fauna. The liberation of gender would mean the liberation of norms, expectations and stereotypes. The presented collaborative artwork provides an entry point into the discussion on queerness in our relation to nature.
This exact Samán tree is 3D scanned and projected as a digital twin in Casa de Mono, allowing visitors to experience the growth and interaction with the tree independently from time and space. Recreating a tree with digital and analogue media prompts the question of how the fragile coexistence between trees as the earth’s extensions into the world and humans can be reinstalled and revisited via artistic collaborative means.
The project was realized as in the frame of City-to-City, a collaboration between the UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts Cali, Colombia and Karlsruhe, Germany and was supported by the Municipalities of Cali and Karlsruhe, the ZKM Karlsruhe, the Museo La Tertulia and Fundación Bibliotec.
More information here.
installation view at Casa de Mono
Look at my branches, stretching like arms, reaching into the sky
which you may perceive as blue or gray or a mix of different hues.
But to me, the sky is a feeling, a sensation, an impression.
The air means breeze to me, warmth, heat, humidity.
And my leaves that are fingers
spread and try to grasp
the ever-changing wind
See my branches and consider: these branches are only a small part of my form.
Under the ground exists my network of roots.
They reach under the museum building, to the river, underneath the street.
I can feel the river flow through me
the cars at rush hour heat up the streets and their fumes darken the air around me.
From time to time I disappear, I merge with my surroundings
and then there is no longer any difference between the wall that supports the paintings and the artworks,
and my roots that support the gardens, the people and the words.
Lay down next to me
and I can help you stretch and extend
and feel your connection to the earth and what is underneath
Then and again I can feel the vibrations
of the electric currents
the wires wrapped around me send them
over time I have learned to imitate
the movement of the wires
the soft trembling that emanates from my body
My identity is not a single one.
With my roots I am connected to the world around me
I can speak with the neighboring trees,
with the plants and herbs and crawlers
that share this space with me.
we stretch our bodies
to create subterranean blankets that cover
that take care of life
under your feet is our ancient network of roots
Once a year comes a time when I spread my flowers
and when the city transitions
comes the time for my transition
I give and receive at the same time
freely changing between male and female
I want to invite you to do the same
open your eyes
and transition with me