Putting Down Roots
- Bachelor – (de)Fine Art
- New Earth
Putting Down Roots is the multidirectional exploration of roots and rhizomes, situated on Buitenplaats Brienenoord. The research project investigates how the ‘invisible’ life below the forest can be made visible and how humans can form sustainable ‘sympoietic’ relationships with nature. Only through fostering sustainable relationships with trees, fungi and their surrounding ecosystems, we can continue to co-create in the future. From the ‘rhizomatic’ (non-linear) research emerged multiple artworks as fruiting bodies. Below, I highlight the three fruiting bodies that I highlighted in the Graduation Show: Human Mycelium, Rhizomatic Being and Fungal Web-Site.
Human Mycelium is a collective action of recreating tree roots and fungi overground. In forests, mycelial networks connect trees and other plants together, through which they can share nutrients and communicate. In Rotterdam, city infrastructure often restricts roots growth and prevents these vital networks from forming, causing the trees to die young. During the Graduation Show, the audience is invited to become the ‘human mycelium’ by artificially connecting separated city trees together with branches and string, highlighting their interconnected nature. I tested this idea in the form of the workshop ‘Mapping The ‘Invisible’ Lives of Trees, on the Buitenplaats Brienenoord.
Rhizomatic Being is a careful, reciprocal ritual of tracing and digging up tree roots. Digging up tree roots with minimal damage, requires patience and care. Trees are teachers of this, as they take their time over decades to grow and engage underground in aiding their neighbouring trees with nutrients and water. Closely interacting with the tree roots allowed me to step into a modality of ‘being in the moment’, which made me kinder and patient with myself. At the Graduation Show, I exhibited the three meter excavated tree root.
The Fungal Web-Site is the website that maps all the fruiting bodies and rhizomatic thought that comprises Putting Down Roots. Inspired by the non-linear and non-hierarchical nature of fungal networks, the website allows for a multiplicity of connections between pages, texts and images through digital links and interactive elements. Link to the website: https://www.esthermaij.com/
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