This week’s been a little better though not without its frustrations.
A big step forward was that (thanks to a contact through my Airbnb hosts) I was able to meet with the guy who manages all the city’s gardeners. It was a great meeting, felt like we were on completely the same page about the need to respect the trees and give them what they need rather than grudgingly squeezing them into spaces and then hacking them back. (He also pointed me to a couple of really interesting books.) This means that the work I want to do in a couple of the parks and the streets can be facilitated (authorisations are needed, of course…). I left the meeting with a big smile on my face.
Also this week I held an audition for the dancers/movers I plan to work with for a couple of weeks, exploring resonances between human body and tree-being, and working out how to make a dance that really feels shared between the two (not just a dance ‘for’ the trees). The dancers were all great and it was really difficult to make a selection, but I now have a team of four, plus Claudia (the intern on the project), to start work with in a few days.
Yesterday I did another walk through the city, taking bark rubbings from the trees I met. Once again it was a dry day but with a very cold wind. Claudia was with me documenting, and we were both chilled by the end. Around 260 trees this time, and much more monocultural – whole stretches of roads with one kind of tree, again not always in the best conditions. It gave me ideas for working with movement around the trees.
The map is growing very slowly (so far I’ve only managed to squeeze in a few minutes each day on it, and it’s another frustration that I can’t get into the studio at weekends or stay late at night). I would love to have time to do many more long
walks but probably won’t. Using the database, I do plan to map a few suggested itineraries (e.g. ‘The Beech Tour of Grenoble’, tour of the oldest and youngest trees, etc.), to offer as walks for anyone who fancies taking them.