Tree Temporality is an ambitious speculative project that explores more-than-human considerations of public art in our natural and urban environments. Through the tree and other intelligent entities, the project endeavours to acknowledge existing sentient relations and agencies, from soil and skin, to technology and synthetic-life, to animals and organisms, to law and territory. The project was initiated through a series of internal gatherings led by a group of artists and designers that presented their perspective on this topic and its critical role in their practice. The content and connections that emerged from these sessions shaped a performative public happening while allowing the event to function as another layer of the research and generating further content towards the project’s central questions:

If we reflect on the tree’s relation to time and territory, might it perform as precedent in how we regard resilience, permanence, ephemerality, legality and land within public art practice?

How does thinking through time of a tree (including its pasts and projected futures) address other temporalities that may exist?

How can we be attentive to the decolonial implications and possibilities of the research if we are committed to a more than human approach?

How, through public art practice, do we not colonize yet again?

How not to be extractive in our thinking and respond by listening, with specificity and with openness?
The following are a series of recommendations for a more-than-human public art practice, contributing to the research questions: If we reflect on the tree’s relation to time and territory, might it perform as precedent in how we regard resilience, permanence, ephemerality, legality and land within public art practice? How does thinking through time of a tree address other temporalities that may exist?
Recommendations have been generated in conversation with Tsēma Igharas, Natasha Myers, Zoe Todd, Natalie Jeremijenko and FRAUD (Fran Gallardo & Audrey Samson), Patricio Davila (Public Visualization Lab), Joanna Gutowska, Lisa Smith, Linda Columbus, Ali Qadeer and Shaheer Tarar.

  • Touch and work through materials to create proximal connections to territory across intergenerational time
  • Live beyond a human temporality and attend to the resulting reciprocal responsibilities
  • Reinvent mutualistic relations in more imaginative territorial sharings beyond industrial logics
  • Think of ecologies as happenings, as gatherings of happenings that bring together multiple beings and multiple temporalities
  • Find ways to conspire with the plants
  • Rewrite how we move and inhabit our bodies in actual space as a strategy to explore, very material, very sensual, very embodied interrelationships
  • Decolonize the logic of ecology which hinges on the efficiency of nature
  • Attune to relations to include technology, to include all aspects of human-made environments including the petrochemicals and contaminations
  • that are part of the ecology we're documenting
  • Look to trees and plants to teach us new things about the more than life of ecology but also the more than natural, in order to do a more-than-natural history
  • Restage relationships not based on extractive logics, not based on colonial forms, not but actually figuring out ways to conspire for livable futures for both plants and people
  • Tune into a different kind of time. Trees teach us about folds in time, deep ways to rethink tempos, temporalities, both speed of slowness.
  • begin in a world that isn't gridded yet, then begin to ask what matters.
  • Understand the porosities of the body and the fact that there are temporalities internally that are resonating with tree temporalities or other sentient beings
  • Centered around the body but rethinking the body itself
  • Using fish and plans and other creatures as a kind of council who are deliberating
  • Bring art into ongoing relationships to indigenous legal traditions
  • Realized the everyday relationships to space, people, and the land
  • Connect to t he territory through material; interact with material and connecting it back to territory
  • Break the binary of pain and love and respect and response
  • Tree is occupying land but it is then also responding to land inside the territory. simultaneously occupying two opposite positions, moving beyond the binary of one or the other and maybe it's more about how to teeter between both
  • Presented by:
    Onsite Gallery


    Curated by:
    Ala Roushan
    is an Assistant Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Her practice includes research, writing, curating and teaching. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the European Graduate School in Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought and holds a Master of Arts in Advanced Architectural Design from Städelschule. Her current research navigates the implications of the digital as it reveals depth of space beyond the limits of human perception. Previously she was active as a founder of Flip Project Space Napoli, and most recently, Ala has been commission as the co-director/curator of SUGAR, an experimental curatorial platform based in Toronto. independent.academia.edu/AlaRoushan
    Maiko Tanaka
    is the Executive Director of Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center and an independent curator based in Buffalo and Toronto. Since 2007 Maiko has curated projects at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (now Art Museum at the University of Toronto) Gendai Gallery, Trinity Square Video, and Casco (in Utrecht), among others. She is co-editor of the publications, The Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook published by Casco and Valiz, and Model Minority, published by Gendai in collaboration with the Publication Studio, and has written texts for various art magazines and artist publications. Her curatorial research is informed by science-fiction feminisms, media and technology studies, non-linear forms of storytelling, and more-than-human approaches to creating and disseminating knowledge. She holds a BFA from OCAD University and an MVS from the University of Toronto. maikotanaka.com

    Speakers:
    Zoe Todd
    (Métis/otipemisiw) is from amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Alberta, Canada. She writes about fish, art, Métis legal traditions, the Anthropocene, extinction, and decolonization in urban and prairie contexts. She also studies human-animal relations, colonialism and environmental change in north/western Canada. zoesctodd.wordpress.com
    Natasha Myers
    is Associate Professor of Anthropology at York University, convenor of the Politics of Evidence Working Group, and director of the Plant Studies Collaboratory. Trained as a dancer, scientist, and anthropologist, her research and creative practice converge around questions of forms of vegetal life in the arts, sciences, and ecology. Her recent work includes Becoming Sensor (becomingsensor.com), a research-creation collaboration with dancer and filmmaker Ayelen Liberona that aims to decolonize our ecological sensorium. For more information see natashamyers.org.
    FRAUD
    is a duo (FRan Gallardo + AUDrey Samson) of media and spatial thingkers. Their backgrounds include computational culture, critical technical practices, post-colonial and critical feminism, performance, design and space system engineering. They develop forms of art-led inquiry into the multiples scales of power, governability that flow through physical and cultural landscapes. Their practice is currently focused on exploring forms of slow violence and death embedded in, for instance, the entanglement between archiving practices and technical objects, the diminishing negantropism of global trade, systems of production after erasure, and alluring myths of ecological cosmopolitanism. fraud.la
    Tsēma Igharas
    is an interdisciplinary artist and a member of the Tāłtān First Nation. She uses Potlatch methodology to create conceptual artwork influenced by her mentorship in Northwest Coast Formline Design at K’saan (2005/06), her studies in visual culture and time in the mountains. She has a Bachelor's degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2011) and graduated from the Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media and Design program at OCADu showing her thesis work, LAND|MINE that connects materials to mine sites and bodies to the land. Tsēma has shown and performed in various places in Canada, and internationally in Chiapas, Mexico, Asheville, USA and Santiago, Chile. esln.ca

    Panelists:
    Patricio Davilla
    is a designer, artist and educator. He is currently Associate Professor in Design and Associate Dean at OCAD University. He is also member of the OCADU Mobile Media Lab and Visual Analytics Lab. Patricio is director of Public Visualization Lab. His doctoral research focused on developing a theoretical framework for examining data visualization as assemblages of subjectivation and power. In his creative practice he has created mobile applications, locative media projects, essay videos, new media installations, and participatory community projects including: Powers of Kin, Chthuluscene, Tent City Projections, The Line, and In The Air Tonight. His research and practice focuses on the politics and aesthetics of participation in the visualization of spatial issues with a specific focus on urban experiences, mobile technologies and large-scale interactive public installations. patriciodavila.com/projects
    Tsēma Igharas
    is an interdisciplinary artist and a member of the Tāłtān First Nation. She uses Potlatch methodology to create conceptual artwork influenced by her mentorship in Northwest Coast Formline Design at K’saan (2005/06), her studies in visual culture and time in the mountains. She has a Bachelor's degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2011) and graduated from the Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media and Design program at OCADu showing her thesis work, LAND|MINE that connects materials to mine sites and bodies to the land. Tsēma has shown and performed in various places in Canada, and internationally in Chiapas, Mexico, Asheville, USA and Santiago, Chile. esln.ca
    Natasha Myers
    is Associate Professor of Anthropology at York University, convenor of the Politics of Evidence Working Group, and director of the Plant Studies Collaboratory. Trained as a dancer, scientist, and anthropologist, her research and creative practice converge around questions of forms of vegetal life in the arts, sciences, and ecology. Her recent work includes Becoming Sensor (becomingsensor.com), a research-creation collaboration with dancer and filmmaker Ayelen Liberona that aims to decolonize our ecological sensorium. For more information see natashamyers.org.
    Ala Roushan
    is an Assistant Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Her practice includes research, writing, curating and teaching. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the European Graduate School in Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought and holds a Master of Arts in Advanced Architectural Design from Städelschule. Her current research navigates the implications of the digital as it reveals depth of space beyond the limits of human perception. Previously she was active as a founder of Flip Project Space Napoli, and most recently, Ala has been commission as the co-director/curator of SUGAR, an experimental curatorial platform based in Toronto. independent.academia.edu/AlaRoushan
    Maiko Tanaka
    is the Executive Director of Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center and an independent curator based in Buffalo and Toronto. Since 2007 Maiko has curated projects at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (now Art Museum at the University of Toronto) Gendai Gallery, Trinity Square Video, and Casco (in Utrecht), among others. She is co-editor of the publications, The Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook published by Casco and Valiz, and Model Minority, published by Gendai in collaboration with the Publication Studio, and has written texts for various art magazines and artist publications. Her curatorial research is informed by science-fiction feminisms, media and technology studies, non-linear forms of storytelling, and more-than-human approaches to creating and disseminating knowledge. She holds a BFA from OCAD University and an MVS from the University of Toronto. maikotanaka.com
    Zoe Todd
    (Métis/otipemisiw) is from amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Alberta, Canada. She writes about fish, art, Métis legal traditions, the Anthropocene, extinction, and decolonization in urban and prairie contexts. She also studies human-animal relations, colonialism and environmental change in north/western Canada. zoesctodd.wordpress.com

    Participants
    Natalie Jeremijenko
    In 2014 VIDA Art and Artificial Life International Awards Pioneer Prize was awarded to Natalie Jeremijenko "for her consistently brilliant portfolio of work over the past two decades.” (a prize only awarded once before to Laurie Anderson). Awarded the 2013 Most Innovative People, named of the most influential women in technology 2011, one of the inaugural top young innovators by MIT Technology Review and 40 most influential designers Jeremijenko directs the Environmental Health Clinic, and is an Associate Professor in the Visual Art Department, NYU and affiliated with the Computer Science Dept and Environmental Studies program. Previously she was on the Visual Arts faculty at UCSD, Faculty of Engineering at Yale University, a visiting professor at Royal College of Art in London, a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Public Understanding of Science at Michigan State University, and a Visiting Global Distinguished Professor at they NYU College of Arts and Sciences. Her degrees are in biochemistry, engineering, neuroscience and History and Philosophy of Science. http://www.nyu.edu/projects/xdesign/

    Soil Cola Recipe:
    FRAUD
    is a duo (FRan Gallardo + AUDrey Samson) of media and spatial thingkers. Their backgrounds include computational culture, critical technical practices, post-colonial and critical feminism, performance, design and space system engineering. They develop forms of art-led inquiry into the multiples scales of power, governability that flow through physical and cultural landscapes. Their practice is currently focused on exploring forms of slow violence and death embedded in, for instance, the entanglement between archiving practices and technical objects, the diminishing negantropism of global trade, systems of production after erasure, and alluring myths of ecological cosmopolitanism. fraud.la

    Terrascreen:
    Ali S. Qadeer
    is a designer and educator in Toronto. His work focuses on algorithmic form and where graphic design meets the humanities. An Assistant Professor at OCAD University with an MFA from RISD, Ali works in web, print, and web and print. work.iamasq.ca
    Shaheer Tarar
    is a documentary artist and designer from Toronto. He uses satellite images, found footage and legal documents to trace historical events to the role they play in the contemporary moment, and presents these studies as publications, websites, large prints or multi-channel films. Shaheer is a recent graduate of OCAD University. sheeri.co

    Curated by Ala Roushan and Maiko Tanaka
    Presented by Onsite Gallery

    Onsite Gallery gratefully acknowledges the Ontario Arts Council for their support through the Culturally Diverse Curatorial Project program.
    The opening projection presents seven characters living, reproducing, dying, feeding and killing based on their interactions with each other and the world around them. Each species lives within their own temporality and affects the species they come into contact with. Terrascreen highlights and synthesizes fragments of TREE TEMPORALITY’s research into a narrative that builds awareness of the multi-species agencies within our environment.

    White spruce
    With a genome ten times the scale of that of a human genome, white spruce contains a volume of information and experience that simultaneously plays at a quick time and a slow time.

    Sturgen
    A healthy sturgeon, such as those in Treaty 6 territory can live to 150 years old—far beyond a human lifespan.

    Tahltan territory
    This area exists not as a static region but of an active, interdependent space. Through gift and return—the obsidian, copper, and rawhide continue to change the land.

    Mount Edziza
    A volcano rich with obsidian, Mount Ediziza’s very composition was collected and proliferated across the region by ancient Tahltan people. This world changes in both geological and anthropocenic time.

    Mount Polley
    In 2014, the Mount Polley tailings pond breached and polluted the water systems in the surrounding land. Life and territory can be affected within comparative instants.

    City
    The city shapes itself around the trees that live within its growing borders. Its dwellers could have removed them to favor a grid, instead their architecture forms around the trees.

    Kokanee
    Found in Tahltan territory, Kokanee (Salmon) are a migratory fish found throughout Tahltan territory.