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imwsts: friendly parasites

During a three month artist residency in Björkö Konstnod, Sweden, I developed a research-led artistic project, a trial or pilot project, before the official start of my practice-led PhD.

I ended up making a hybrid, yet physical world between fiction and nonfiction where parasites could make trees speak, whisper and sing. I took people out on a walk to this world, into the forest, under the illusion of the scientific discovery of a new parasitic species that allowed the trees to tell stories. The trees had encapsulated and absorbed stories, secrets and memories into their bodies, and the parasites were slowly letting them seep out. Deep in the forest, where I had installed speaking sculptures, and with them created a ‘room' or space in the forest, they could listen to the trees telling and singing and whispering stories (a motion sensor activated a little speaker) of the people and animals living on the island. Mostly non-fiction, some of them fiction. The work imwsts: friendly parasites was an attempt to create an opportunity for empathy, for deep listening, and was an important step in thoroughly investigating my own methods and how they impacted the resulting piece.

I am forever greatly to the people of Björkö who were generous enough to share their stories, experiences and memories related to the island with me, and to Åsa Öhrn, for lending me her beautiful voice.