and–akter. rehearsals of escape. is an ongoing exploration of care, breath and the forest, shared by artists Hanna Wildow, Alva Willemark and Tony Karlsson Savci, in collaboration with composer Johan Wahlberg and video photog- rapher Adam Nilsson, as well as with the audiences that participate.
‘and-akt’ is a Swedish word for a spiritual service. At the same time it brings together the words for ‘breathe’ and ‘act’. This intimate relationship between breath and the spiritual can be traced through most major languages, which historically have understood the lungs as portals to the unknown. and–akter. rehearsals of escape. examine these affinities between spirituality and language, while also connecting them to the forest. We invite ourselves and the visitor to enter a breathing, hymning pine forest called Gränseskogen (The Border Forest) – a distant and highly inaccessible nature reservoir in the midst of a rural Swedish mountain chain. Dressing the space in a borderland of video, sound, object and body, we unfold a site-specific, audiovisual and participatory installation. In an attempt to activate the space performatively, we invite the visitor to breathe through acts of slowness, proximity and together- ness.
As a tactile installation, the visitor is encouraged to physically experience its parts through various senses. When entering, they sense a hint of pine forest, spreading through a humidifier. Sounds of breath, wind, voice and syn- thesizers create a cradling and intriguing landscape. An embracing spatiality of forest is projected onto the internal boundaries of the space as well as onto an octagon-shaped construction of silk and pine wood; ‘bathing’ the visitor in a fictive and enhanced reality.
The forest and it’s system of care – it’s roots covered in mushrooms through which a tree protects and shelters every other tree body – is explored as an artistic matter as well as an imaginary prophecy for the future. With the intention to pause and imagine other ways of relating to one another, we uncover historical and mythological connections between lungs, roots and languages through poetic playings within various mediums and materials. Reaching for practices of sharing and caring, we ask what it would it be like – as artists and as humans – to act with the intention of making ourselves, as well as every other body in this space, feel good? As an exhortation rather than a question, we dwell, unravel and entangle, while searching through objects, video, sound, installation and performance. Evok- ing, confirming and challenging conceptions and experiences: talking and caring, protecting and sheltering. Know- ing that one tree makes no forest.
Throughout the installation, the visitor is met with invitations to touch, feel, move, sound, breathe and unfold their bodies through the space; making the installation shift, bend and bulge. Thus, the visitor that chooses to interact with the installation takes part in the embodiment of it; performing and shaping it into its shared, waddling, breath- ing body.
As such, and–akter. rehearsals of escape. also searches for an unknown exhibition format. Neither a solo, nor a group show, but rather an interstice within which works are being made from the necessity of relation and connec- tion. It is the attempt of us as artists – and of whoever chooses to become part in the making of our installation – to direct attention towards systems of care and towards what it means to share – share a past, a present and a future – in a space, a world, and a system that persistently tries to make us not share. It is a call for breathing together;
a reminder of our capacities to feel things – vocations for our deepest cravings. Through sequences of gestures, symbols and actions, and–akter. rehearsals of escape. offers occasions to pause, listen, share, care, and to imagine other ways of being together.
and–akter. rehearsals of escape. has previously been performed as an online-participatory performance (Gallery BOX, Gothenburg 22/8 2020). During 2020-2021, the work is transformed into a live performance and an exhibi- tion by the artists. Simultaneously, the online-format continues to be explored as a method for collaboration, play, joy, sharing and caring, across social distances and closed borders.
The live performance will be shown at Weld in Stockholm in September 2021.