As a result of many coincidences I spent a day with Old Tjikko on Fulufjället, the first remarkable tree in a series with the working title ”Meeting with Remarkable Trees” I have planned as a continuation of ”Performing with Plants”. Or perhaps you could call this a pilot study of sorts. But there have been others, like the tree I spent a day with in the rocky cove on Koh Lanta, which became The Tide in Kan Tiang, or the small downy birch on Lofoten, which turned into Rainy Day in Rekdal and Grey Day in Rekdal (with a downy birch) as well as Sunday with a Pine in Nida on the Curonian spit. Compared to them, however, Old Tjikko is a celebrity, and not chosen by me to begin with, but suggested by Camilla Johansson Bäcklund. She contacted me about another work and asked if we could do some ”fieldwork” together, related to her MFA project. I replied that we could perhaps spend a day together with an interesting tree, and she came up with Old Tjikko. I was excited, and also a little scared when she suggested that we sleep in a tent on the mountain, because I have no experience of hiking in the mountains and do not like walking with lots to carry. To my relief she found a place to stay in the nearby village Mörkret (Darkness!), and we could sleep there, get up early and go up to the mountain, find Old Tjikko, spend the day together with it, and return down to the village for the night.
Fulufjället is an amazing place and the walk around the Njupeskär waterfall, the highest in Sweden, is really spectacular. The only trouble was, that we were there off-season. Well, that sounds nice, not too many people, peace and quiet. Yes, but off-season is that for a reason; there was a lot of snow still, melting, so skis or snow-shoes would not work. The paths were hard to find and follow because many of the signs on rocks were covered in snow, or if not, the paths had turned into mountain brooks. This meant that our day had a funny structure. First stress, struggle and hardship to get up to the mountain and find the tree. Then a day of sunshine hanging around recording repeated images with the tree, resting on the spots without snow, covered with lichen, almost blinded and burned by the strong light. And then stress, struggle and hardship to get down again, because we chose the other route around the waterfall. By the time we walked down the hill on the road with midnight approaching. we were so exhausted we could hardly speak. But, it was a great day! The video material recorded is very simple, static, ascetic, a total contrast to the drama before and after its creation. But that is often the case, at least for me. Finding the place is the problem or the hard part. The rest is easy.
Luckily there is quite a lot of video material, and not only experiences, even if they are important, too. I proposed a two-stage process for the editing. First both of us make one channel of a two-channel video out of the material each of us has recorded. Then we invite the other to create the second channel as a response to that work out of her own material. That way we would get two different two-channel videos instead of one collaborative compromise. It remains to be seen if that works and what else can be done. In any case I am grateful for having done this, and happy to have begun my new project almost by accident. To sum up, here is the same story in a few images: