Susan Turcot’s Blog
The sympoiesis of an ambulatory reading circle ; see more info here
Over Christmas while in Toronto I met an inspiring anthropologist who has been working through film, dance, community work, and documentary photography at critically questioning the approach the cities urban forestry department is taking in re-modelling and preserving the parks oak Savanah. Oak Savanahs, I learn, are the result of hundreds of years of human intervention to make spaces of food growing, cultural exchange and ritual. They are indigenous spaces that when encountered by colonisers were seen as a replication of the green and promised lands left in Britain and were often chosen as places to practice european farming which included destroying the Savanah's by removing the oaks.
In high park the centuries long indigenous practices that formed this space, have not, as of yet, been recognized and the city approaches the protection of this space through software based modelling practices. One can visualise all the unwanted plants and bushes highlighted with the code 'destruction through roundup', modelling out undesirable plant life. Persons, birds, soil collecting poisoned berries, insects, plants feeding breathing this product, a person becomes ill, documenting in proximity to the plants treated with this product.
Where is the listening?
Savanah are regenerated through burning, an indigenous practice- the city practices the fire without practicing communication with indigenous members actively using this space on their lands.
As we leave, I worry about loosing the connection to rocks, water, and plants, creatures in this extraordinary landscape where we have been since the start of confinement.
I am tethered in by both floating and taught threads to the locations where I drew, the places spent in observation, listening, seeing, and finding active awareness of relationships between, for example, a birch and their surrounding moss beds, or twisting cedars growing out of rock bases, touching the fjord, where beluga pods gently open the surface of the water; white mounds rising, flashing like the birch trees in moonlight.
I am not loosing 'here', but anchored to these places, the complex and precise relationships found there, held and woven into the time of there, accessible anywhere, anytime. A line that extends from the body right back down to that rock where the listening and drawing happened and where with my spine curved into that cedar.
Departures and arrivals.
*( works in the early 90's: threads taught accross rooms, threads decending from the ceiling changing the perception of space, 2 tiny sculpted heads joined by a taught thread accross the room where to draw the line