Meeting with Trees
Meeting with Trees is an experimental and interactive project series that seeks to explore modes of connection and communication with trees as kin. It is convened by Mouries Collective, an interdisciplinary group of female artists, researchers and therapists. Through our projects, we develop methods, thoughts and intuitions for creating connections with the beings who inhabit the land with us. Our collaborative work combines elements of performance, projections, collective healing and rituals, drawing and storytelling.
Starting in 2021, the series has comprised the following interventions so far.
Meeting with Trees - Lycabettus Festival
Lycabettus hill, Athens May 2021
The trees on Lycabettus, as well as the sky that hangs above it and the rock beneath those trees, may have a lot of knowledge that we as humans wandering on those hills, may not know. How can we learn from them? What do we want to learn from them? Are we ready to hear what they have to tell us? How do we relate to them, how do they relate to us? What is their experience of the city? How would we develop the means to hear their stories? We believe that by asking the right questions, one can begin to hear the stories of the trees. And as with any conversation, by listening to others we listen to ourselves. We aim to bring to light the stories, conscious and unconscious, that we relate to the hill, the trees, the parks, the public green spaces of our city.
With this project, we want to create a conversation between the humans visiting Lycabettus Hill and the broader environment that they find themselves in. The space that is the Hill is made up of many residents, coexisting in interspecies relationality - trees, stones, the sky above the hill and the worms that populate the earth, among many others. We will assist in the creation of 1 to 1 encounters between the visitors and other entities that inhabit the hill. We will try to open up a space in which stories can be exchanged between humans and the hill, for locating means to infuse the space with personal intentionality and meaning.
Mouries under the Trees - Athens Garden Festival
Invited by the Institut Français de Grèce and co-produced with the independent art space Yellow Brick
Pedion Tou Areos, Athens September 2021
Trees have knowledge that humans usually don’t know how to access. Maybe we share this knowledge, but we can’t know unless we take the time to listen. This becomes essential at a time when we want to support the forests regenerate after the fires - how can we support someone to whom we don’t listen?
We, the Mouries - a circle of women with practices of divination and healing - are interested in building a conversation with the trees. We will receive our guests at a picnic, where we will share our methods, thoughts and intuitions. We will then guide each visitor to a different space in the grove where a mediator will assist a connection with the trees.
We want to create a liberating space for healing and the coexistence of different approaches that expand our understanding of storytelling. We aim to deepen our perception and explore the connection between intimacy and public space and nature as our companion in the city. By learning to hear the trees, we can also learn to hear each other. We explore our relationship with nature - and with each other. We are separate and different, but we are equally present in Pedion Areos as beings who share this common space. We all have stories to tell about it, as we all live it in our way.
Let’s open our senses to new intimacies through one to one encounters, conversations, stories and melodies in the forest!
Sketching rituals for forests’ regeneration - Lost & Shared: Approaches to collective mourning towards transformative politics
Curated by the artist Eliana Otta
One Minute Space and Akademias Platonos park, Athens October 2021
A three-hour workshop to imagine, discuss and put into practice ideas for rituals to mourn, accompany, and heal with our lost forests. This encounter is inspired by the recent fires in Greece and is an open invitation to those who, like us, feel the need to do something without knowing exactly what. Maybe we will find out together.
12sqm: Filopappou’s Hidden Flowers - Aνθοπωλείο
Invited by the independent art space Or Art Space
Or.artspace and Filopappou hill, Athens May 2022
What can the flowers of Filopappou tell us about the secrets of the area? What is hidden? What stories do the flowers hold? What are their experiences at present, what do they hope for our future? Can trying to understand the flowers expand our experience of Koukaki? How can humans and flowers communicate with each other? The Mouries Collective invites you to explore these questions, and more, in a three-hour participatory, performative walk. We will begin by sharing stories of Koukaki and Filopappou, and reading short texts to focus and connect with the lives and experiences of flowers. Then we will transform Or Space´s 12sqm spatial dimensions into a moving and embodied frame. Walking with attention and care, this temporary tool will amplify our ability to observe, listen, sense, register and speculate with and through the flora of the neighbourhood. The “bouquet” of materials gathered during the walk – drawings, notes and photographs – will be transferred back to Or Art Space where we will compose a collective mural to accompany the work of our fellow artists´ pieces in the exhibition space. Proceeds from any possible sales will be shared with the workshop participants in the form of a collective meal at the end of the exhibition.
Sketching rituals for forests’ regeneration
Edipsos, Evia March 2022
We shared three days in a burned forest on the island of Evia, experimenting with the creation of rituals to accompany and support lost forests in their regeneration process. This encounter is inspired by the recent fires in Greece, and is an open invitation to those who, like us, felt the need to do “something” without knowing exactly what.
The video above provides an insight into this experience.
Appear in the video: Isabel Gutierrez Sanchez, Vasiliki Sifostratoudaki, Auriane Blanc, Thalia Dimitropoulou, Maria Juliana Byck, Artemis Papageorgiou, Eliana Otta and Sanem Su Avcı
Text and voice: Sanem Su Avci
Camera: Eliana Otta and Maria Juliana Byck
Editing: Eliana Otta
Exercises on Dwelling - Hills & Fields Festival
Invited by EIGHT / ΤΟ ΟΧΤΩ: Critical Institute for Arts and Politics
Pedion Tou Areos, Athens May 2022
Mouries Collective invites you to participatory performances and ponderings on dwelling in the contemporary urban habitat. By bringing together words, temporary structures and movement research we will explore, through collective inhabitation inside the park, issues of comfort, safety, privacy, community, isolation, rest and routine.