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Friday March 15 | Session 15:05 - 16:25 (20 min)
University Theatre Building | University Theatre

This performance lecture demonstrates and discusses how to perform with trees, by sharing experiences and video clips from the artistic research project “Performing with Plants”, which explores how to perform landscape today by performing for camera together with particular trees and shrubs.

It could be seen as an intervention into dominant notions of who and what can perform. A new-materialist and post-humanist perspective prompts us to consider how the surrounding world consists of creatures, life forms and material phenomena with varying degrees of volition, needs and agency. Within our ongoing performance of trans-corporeal exchanges with vegetation in the world, deliberate artistic performances can be developed to intervene in the continuous disregard of plants. This presentation proposes to understand some examples of performing for camera with trees as a form of appearing together in the image space. In Swedish appearing on stage, ‘uppträda’, literally means ‘stepping up’. In Finnish the intransitive form of performing is ‘esiintyä’, to appear or occur, to be on display, as opposed to the transitive form of performing, ‘esittää’, to perform something or as someone. Appearing with plants is here not linked to appearance as semblance but rather to occurring, even emerging together. Performing ‘with’ plants is an example of the problem of living with life-forms unlike us that we nevertheless are completely dependent on. Besides an intervention in time, to understand performing as appearing together, in the same city as well as in the same image space, is a way to begin to practice acknowledging this dependence.

Annette Arlander, DA, is an artist, researcher and pedagogue. Previously professor of performance art and theory at Theatre Academy Helsinki (2001-2013), professor of artistic research at University of the Arts Helsinki (2015-2016), postdoctoral fellow at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2017), she is presently professor of performance, art and theory at Stockholm University of the Arts (2018-2019), visiting researcher at Academy of fine Arts, Uniarts Helsinki, PI of the Academy of Finland funded research project How to do things with performance? and the Swedish Research Council funded artistic research project Performing with Plants. For artworks and publications, see
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