What Is It About Trees – Video

I am pleased to share the results of my work for the exhibition “What Is It About Trees” at El Camino College Art Gallery from Feb 18 – March 12 (now extended through April 3). This post focuses on the video art piece “El Camino Tree Meditation” I created for the exhibition based on a process of visiting the campus several times between November and January to record video footage of the trees after the meditation practice.

A short excerpt from the 15 minute video

Artist Statement for “El Camino Tree Meditation”

The video was created from a conceptual process of spending time with and meditating among the trees on El Camino College campus from Nov 2019-Jan 2020. After several sessions of quietly listening and observing the trees and the surrounding environment, the vision of creating the final form of the video became clear.

There were numerous elements of particular note in the process of spending intimate time with the trees. Of course, the visual pleasure of enjoying the colors of the leaves and finding beautiful patterns in the bark are most evident, but from there a profound sense of how a tree provides home, shelter, security, and sustenance for various animals unfolds. The more one spends time with a tree, one further appreciates how truly alive and life-giving a tree is.

One becomes aware of how life in contemporary society separates humanity from close connection, but how innately bonded we truly are. Our own lives on this planet depend on trees, and we must restore proper balance and respect for them. Rooted in one place, trees act as silent sentinels and landmarks of location, and remind the ever-moving human to slow down their rhythm and tap into a deeper sense of connection to the surroundings.

There is a desire to anthropomorphize and this video reflects that impulse, yet trees have a very distinctive perspective of the world. Unlike humans, trees experience life with a consciousness both under and above the ground. Science now confirms that they communicate and share both food and information with each other through their roots. There is an endless amount of insight and inspiration to gain from spending time with trees.

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