Do Trees Dream of CO2 in Vaasa

Per Huttner and Karine Bonneval will present “″ at Kuntsi Art Museum in Vaasa, May 27 at 2pm. The event offers an opportunity to look into the technical, scientific and artistic developments that the projects make. You are also invited to participate in a practical demonstration where you can try to “dialogue with a tree. The team is in residence in Vexalalandet the week before the presentation where they work closely with Finnish artist from the region.

Humans have traditionally ignored plants’ ability to solve problems. Biology has recently acquired important knowledge about plants and their perception and problem solving skills. We gradually learn more about how do plants react when the surroundings world changes and what they do in order to enhance their chances of survival. Mankind has also been relatively blind to many of the similarities that we share with the vegetal life around us. But since we share the same planet and the same evolutionary past, we also share a lot of biochemistry. In biology much attention has recently been given to the agency of plants – how they sense the world and deal with changes in their environment. In this project, artists and researchers from Denmark, Sweden and France investigate what art can learn from this new and exciting research and how it can be used to create new and visionary art.

Concept and Technology
In our working process we focus primarily on trees’ and their inner signalling. We use the PepiPIAF technology to measure changes in their inner. This non-invasive technology is attached to a branch of a tree. It measures the changes in pressure and temperature inside the actual tree, based on how sap moves. It shows how a tree adapts itself to changes of temperature, season, and daily rhythm. From these measurements we can derive information about how the tree grows and to a certain degree how it adapts to outside changes. You can find more info about the PepiPIAF here. (In French only.)

The Performances
In our project, we focus on making performances for smaller groups of visitors (6-10 people at the time.) We present the work in the evening and at night. Our main focus is on the nocturnal life of plants. We know that they rest at night, in similar way that animals do. But do they also dream? What is their nocturnal existence like? What similarities and differences can we find between them and us? In the performances the audience is invited to spend extended time with a unique tree and experience art based on that tree’s inner processes. The performances offer a dedicated moment to the inner life of a specific tree, entangled with the specific life rhythm of one human being.

The project is supported by Svenska kulturfonden, Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse and Kulturbryggan.