score and stills from video
in collaboration with Genietta Varsi
Insularias is a process-based video that documents the walking and healing practices of two artists following the holistic ritual of a foot bath on Partiosaari island, Helsinki, Finland. The ritual we followed was led by artist
With this piece, we wish to propose an alternative way of co-existing with our surroundings as humans, by sharing a practice that would help to restore the relationship between humans and other living entities.
We heard, learned and interpreted teachings around sauna, healing practices and medicinal plants. We made our own ritual looking for ways to cultivate our friendship, while taking care of ourselves and our surroundings. The process was based on walking through the forest, discussing, deciding, foraging leaves, stems and flowers, touching, cutting, talking, hugging and exchanging gases and fluids between humans and plants, infusing the plants, submerging our feet in the bath, singing, and meditating. We documented all of this using one of our feet as the recorder, in order to shift perspective to ground level, we then wrote a score reflecting our shared experience.
The sole of the foot is the part of the body that is closest to the ground, where the memory of what has been walked is stored, the support of our condition as bodies that evolve in gravity. It is a surface of touch and feel, a direct interface between the skin of the sole and the cuticle of the leaf. Touch with touch.
Consent is a force that sustains communities of more-than-human. We based our method of creation on consent practices. We worked around cultivating care and attention towards plants and ourselves, by slowing down, opening up all our senses, asking for permission and following our intuitions. We foraged the plants with a knife, taking just what we needed and making sure to cut sharp and clean. We paid attention to what the plants were willing to give, learning how to listen to them.
Soils, sun, waters, vegetation and us two came together in a multi-layered experience. Vegetal and human bodies mixing, merging, separating, coming together, and coming apart. Water is an important element in the work, as this vital element brings everything together. Each of us has our own curiosity and relation with water. We explored together the relations between our moving bodies, the plants and the constant exchanges of energies.
Walking around the island, we wondered and wandered through the spaces inside and outside bodies. We imagined our skins not as a limit, rather as a medium for interaction; our gases crossing membranes and going through veins, roots, skies and lands. We perceived the island where we were as a micro-universe where relationships were forged and reconciled between communities of living and non-living beings. The island breathed, and we breathed with it.