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AMSTELPARK


Trees are living fossils. Through their slow but gradual growth, small birches can become giants over time. However, trees grow better together in a forest than alone. A forest protects: through an underground network, trees exchange information and nutrients. But can we (mankind) recognize and perhaps even hear this exchange? Can we learn from the way trees are connected? And can we communicate with trees? In other words, can we speak about interspecies communication?

Since some years, the world is captivated by yoga, mindfulness and meditation. On a daily basis, many people meditate during group sessions or alone at home, as a way to include quiet and stillness in one’s busy life. An often-done meditation is the so called ‘tree meditation’, which is meant for grounding, and in which the meditator becomes a tree. The body becomes the bark of the tree; from the feet grow roots deep into the ground; the arms stretch out like branches that are strengthened by daylight. It’s an everyday example of the way in which we identify with trees. In the Amstelpark, everyday one can find groups meditating together between the trees of the former Floriade park. What do trees tell our subconscious in this location?

I am interested in the relation between humans and trees, and want to find a way to make this relation tangible, audible or experiential. ‘Humming Trees’ is a project in which I ask the simple question of how we relate to trees, which I will research in the context of the Amstelpark and its history as a Floriade park.
VIA APPIA PARK

In earlier projects, I have researched the infrastructure of specific places and landscapes in multiple ways. For Exploded View, I will look at the soil of the Via Appia Antica and map the micro infrastructure and ecosystems of this area.

The starting point of my research on the Appian Park begins with a large scale event that happened thousands of years ago when the Colli Albani, a volcano located south of Rome, produced big clouds of white vapor and subsequently erupted in immeasurable amounts. An enormous fountain of fire followed and formed a river of lava that interestingly streamed towards Rome in a straight line. The cooled down layer of volcanic material was later used by the Romans as the foundation of what later became their most famous trade route, the Via Appia. It is this, given the way in which the landscape steered the lava causing it to flow entirely straight and on, which the Romans then based their trade route, that fascinates me.

The soil of the Via Appia distinguishes itself because of its fertile qualities through the presence of lava. In my project, I approach the earth or soil as a living entity and a world as such; as a composition of minerals and chemical processes, a web of living entities that serve as a home for microorganism, bacterias, funghi, animals and insects. It is as well the place where human bodies are buried and dissolve over time. The soil can therefore be seen as the carrier of the memory of humanity.

To get a clearer idea of how the layers of the earth look like on this specific location, I will do a soil boring in the Appian Park. For this, I collaborate with Gijs Pyckevet, who has been working as an architect in Rome for years. Afterwards, I will analyse the boring with a volcanic stratigrapher, which will later form the basis of a story that describes a fictional journey through the earth from the perspective of a mole, and will be recorded in audio.

Eline Kersten works together with Gijs Pyckevet (architect at Studio ABDR, Rome)
Eline Kersten (1994, Maastricht) graduated from a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, after which she undertook an MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths University in London. Currently she is living in Amsterdam, where she works as an independent curator and artist. At the moment, she is developing a series of events with sound artists in multiple botanical gardens in the Netherlands, which are planned to take place in summer 2019. She has exhibited internationally, including at the BienalSur (Buenos Aires); Dak’Art (Dakar); De Brakke Grond (Amsterdam); Hohensalzburg (Salzburg). She has also curated exhibitions and events internationally, at Cubitt Gallery (London); Gorwiden38 (Zürich); Greylight Projects (Brussels); Schunck* (Heerlen), among others. She furthermore co-founded the collective Nowhere, which offers a platform to recently graduated artists, curators and writers through the publication of online zines.