A Promise to Aspen (2018) Mari Keski-Korsu. A text from BODY OF US exhibition publication. Keski-Korsu exposes the industrial undertone of contemporary Finnish forestry and calls its global expansion efforts to shame. The text offers an interesting reading of harvesters by comparing the distance they provide their operators to the distance “war machines” have given to battle. The text celebrates trees, but I’m not sure if “trees” even exist. I find it hard to empathize with them. They live in a different timeframe, continue living as logs and I have no idea what they enjoy. Aspens for one are not individuals, they are closer to ecologies. I don’t know what trees are. I agree with Keski-Korsu that anthropomorphisation is not a problem, it’s a solution because it exposes the power dynamics of our relations with non-humans (this idea comes from Jason Hribal).
The forests can be considered as an oppressed group because they simply have no say over how humans manage them or use the wood. Patricia Hill Collins defines in her book Black Feminist Thought (1990) the matrix of domination and how intersections of oppression are structurally organized. I believe these domains of power can be analyzed and used as an empathy exercise with any group – human or non-human.
Anthropomorphisation doesn’t mean that we shut out species’ specific needs. On the contrary, it helps humans to understand. It should be in the toolbox of new empathy. The kind of new empathy could bring human species to some kind of other level, to make more balanced narrative for this species. After all, empathy has been a building block for the flourishing of this species as it can be considered a basis for collaboration.
Today is our second tree-sound session with Johannes. Build a monstera leaf shaped wooden contact mic frame (I’ll glue four piezos to it). My dremel broke (attempted to grind trough 9mm birch plywood) and it’s not the same issue as last time (got a new one used for 35€). Bought an oscilloscope for 35€ (some potentiometer contacts need cleaning).
Listening to There Existed an Addiction to Blood (2019) Clipping. Hits a nerve while cycling in the gloomy darkness of Helsinki. The beats, broken as they are, feel warm. The lyrics are incredible hip-hop/noise-noir. I identify heavily with the Death Stranding main character Sam Bridges. I haul everything on my back. I particularly remember taking all my tools to Pyhäjoki in the spring using three banana-fruit boxes (pulling them on a cart) and two backpacks. Barely fit trough the train doors and I think I damaged my shoulder on the trip. Not having a driver’s license is starting feel like a burden. Carrying materials, instruments and tools to job-sites and gigs doesn’t feel fun and I feel the trauma of past efforts weighing in on me. Like reversed bodybuilding. My feet get sore from excess walking, my back aches when I lift shit (still feel a CNC machine I pulled inside a van 2002) and shoulders hurt from the tremors of my crappy power-tools.
My income is based on my able-bodiedness and recovering takes longer then it used to. I fear I’m loosing gigs because I can’t bounce back to working condition as fast. I need some kind of transportation to carry my gear around. Or change the way I work. I want to evolve into middle management.