Becoming Arboreal

STANDING UP AND SITTING STILL (it is and it isn’t a walk in the park)
3-hour artist walk, Tiergarten, Berlin (2021)

A guided walk through the Tiergarten spending time with some of its ancient trees. An invitation to explore ideas and practices rooted in the arboreal, which foster the negative capability that enables us to dwell more easily in uncertainty.


A is for arboreality, alchemy, ancestors
B is for Buche, German for beech, which gave us bok, buk, and book – and Buchstaben, letters.
C is for cathedral thinking
D is for dendrology and dendrites: your nerve endings that connect you to trees
E is for emergency and emergence
F is for forest from Lat. foris for outside, door or gate
G is for gratitude as a political practice
H is for hemaphroditic trees such as linden and  horse chestnut
I is for the intimacy of inosculated beech limbs
J is for jerk, the hypnic kind that awakes us on the cusp of sleep to remind us of our hominid nights dreaming in trees
K is for kin and for kindness
L is for listening, deep and cellular
M is for mycelial thinking and mycorrhizal fungi whose couplings with algae gave rise to vegetal life
N is for negative capability, the ability to dwell in uncertainty
O is for oak, which grows for 300 years, holds for 300 years, dies for 300 years
P for the porosity of the skin, the body as threshold
Q is for questions, which build a bridge of connection
R is for radical from the Latin radix for root
S is for the song not the singer
T is for the trouble with which we must stay
U is for underground, unlearning
V is for vidr, Icelandic for wood and vitja: wisdom
W is for wit and witch
X is for xylem, the plant tissue that conducts water and mineral salts from the roots to all other parts and forms the wood of trees
Y is for Yggdrasil, the world tree
Z is for the living meaning of Zen: “The cypress tree in the courtyard”

Textual traces of the walk printed on a handout for participants. The handout can also be rolled up to create an augmented listening device.