Annette Arlander
Year of the Rabbit
Video works, Gallery Janva
9.1 – 27.1.2013

How to perform landscape, not only represent it? Can you have a meaningful relationship with a singular element in the landscape? How can you relate to a living being that you do not easily recognize as your kind? A plant is hard to see as a partner in interaction although plants are actually our collaborators with regard to production of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Plants are our allies, since they, via their photosynthesis, produce the basic ingredients of our food. They are the true creators of our world. There is a kind of symbiotic relationship between plants and animals, in this case a shrub and a human being. Most plants are stationary, reliable to be there for us. A plant knows what it means to be site-specific. A certain shrub in a particular place is an entity with a distinguishable individuality, something to relate to and to visit.

During the year of the rabbit 2011 I chose a juniper growing in the southeastern part of Harakka Island to acquaint myself with and as my partner within the project ” Year of the Rabbit with a Juniper”. A juniper seemed to me a strange creature comparable with the hare in Arto Paasilinna’s novel, together with whom I could search for a new contact with the environment. I ended up visiting the juniper once a week and “holding hands” with it wrapped in a green scarf. I invited passers-by and colleagues to witness my performance and wrote a blog about the project . While travelling I encountered other junipers to make acquaintance with. In the Turku archipelago and in South Häme I found handsome junipers and later I looked for them on Ireland, Sardinia and Ibiza. In the year 2012 I have spent time with junipers as well. Am I perhaps “becoming juniper”?

The Year of the Rabbit is one part in a series of twelve one-year projects videoed on Harakka Island. The series, which I began in 2002, is based on the Chinese calendar and its cycle of twelve years, with each year named after a specific animal. Works videoed in the year of the rat (2008) were shown in Katarina gallery in November 2009 and works videoed in the year of the ox (2009) were shown in gallery Muu in September 2010. Works videoed in the year of the tiger (2010) were exhibited in gallery Jangva in January 2012. Every year I have looked for a new perspective on the landscape, a new aspect of the environment and a new kind of relationship between the human body and the place. My working method utilises the traditions of performance art, video art and environmental art, moving in the borderland between them.