For a long time, the forest was the place for rebels.
Away from the ramparts, the Robins and other medieval cutpurses join the maquisards and the direct action environmentalists in our imagination.
The point is not to declare equivalences or to flaunt an anachronism of the worst kind, but rather to emphasise that the forest naturally welcomes all outcasts of the current system. All the people “outside the walls”, so to speak.
The cabins of Neg’Marrons from French Guiana or the makeshift log huts of Siberian trappers fleeing the Kolyma – these shady hideouts speak volumes of the forest’s mission to accommodate the voice of the struggle.
But more than the need to find a refuge from the eyes of the order, it is also about going back in time. In short, denying the evidence of the course of events, and rewriting a different history.
If hunter-gatherers became students of husbandry, one can imagine that this return to the forest is a symbolic attempt to rewrite history. Another epic might be possible where towns and countries would be communities rather than pyramids, entities more sensitive to happiness rather than to guaranteeing welfare and property, to use the famous Aristotelian distinction.
Return to the trees to re-found the towns, so to speak. To start all over again, as children say, or Gébé from the comic strip “The Year 01”. The allusion is appropriate, now that we have reached the 50th anniversary of May 1968.
To live stark naked again, in the thickets and the high ferns, in order to relive Eden before the fall. To tell ourselves that to be dressed for the occasion doesn’t necessarily mean being covered, buried under the heavy mantle of disciplinary societies, which have clearly become societies of control. And – one day – in the depths of the undergrowth, we will be happy that “nothing is happening”. We will be happy to abandon the sacrosanct cellphone in order to dare to make real changes: it’s when “nothing is happening” that “it happens”, one might say, laconically paraphrasing Lacan.
The forest is the setting of utopia and invention. From Monte Verita to Black Mountain College, people have withdrawn from the cities in a fury to imagine an education without institutional constraint.
If this edition seems bothered by the noise of the world, mindful of the other “Back to the Trees”, which – from Kosovo to Bangladesh – are written by interposed forests, it still does not express any dominance or seek any precedence.
We only want to establish a spin-off which ultimately reassures us: the woods have not been emptied of people in their struggle. The environment is not a stage, and Spinoza never stops being correct in his dispute with Descartes: man is not an empire within an empire.
Ecologically speaking, everything that happens to the forest affects us at some point. We also hope that what is said and what is shown in the shelter of the large trees will touch you culturally, both in the daytime and during nocturnal discussions of enchantment.
Devised by Elektrophonie and the Besançon Institute of Fine Arts (ISBA) with the involvement of a number of partners, among them this year the municipalities of Saint-Vit and Besançon, Back to the Trees will invite you to a wandering about that is full of audio and visual surprises. It reminds us – Rousseau is never far away – that the smell of chlorophyll is often that of liberty.
Thus we hope that the Amber Forest will draw you this year in ever-growing numbers and enthusiasm. All hopes are permitted: after all, did not the Greeks in the Sacred Woods call amber “electron” (ἤλεκτρον), sensitive as they were to its centrifugal properties?
• Albatross • Reading and music by La Méandre (France)
• All Men are called Robert • Film by Marc-Henri Boulier (France)
• Attractions • Performance in collaboration with Christine Douxami (France), Guy Freixe (France) and Performing Arts students from Franche-Comté University (France)
• Bats • Installation by Mauro Corda (France)
• Boat #2 • Sculpture by Thomas Perrin (France)
• Brothers of the Trees – the Call of a Papuan Chief • Film by Marc Dozier (France) and Luc Marescot (France)
• Crafty Forest #4 • Literature installation by ISBA (France)
• Ec(h)ographics • Audio-visual performance by Gilles Malatray (France) and David Bartholoméo (France)
• Frutas Exoticas • Sculptures by Myriam Grosso (France)
• Hic et Nunc • Sound creation by Pierre-Laurent Cassière (France)
• Holy Wood, the Consequences of the Object • Installation by Serge Galliot (France)
• Homo Narcissus • Sculpture by Dylan Merlano Leemans (France)
• Imaginary Movements • Installation by Jean-Baptiste Fayol (France)
• In Chamblay in the Woods #2 • Poetic documentary by Clémence Culic (France)
• An Ornithologist in the Trees • Sound creation by Olivier Toulemonde (France)
• Irradiated. Immobile Traveller • Performance by Maxime Carasso (France)
• Listening Station in Suspension • Sound installation by Brane Project and IdéeHaut (France)
• Memories of Trees • Video installation by ISBA (France)
• Nature in and of itself • Workshop by Miryam Eckert (France)
• Pollen, Evidence of past Landscapes • Scientific workshop by Fanny Duprat Oualid (France) and Emilie Gouriveau (France)
• Porcelain • Sculptures by Thomas Perrin (France)
• RandOlyric • Singing stroll by Vincent Karche (France)
• Salt Cane • Poetic story by Anooradha Rughoonundun (France)
• Shaking the Trees • Kinetic installation by Ben Farey (France)
• Sisyphus • Performance by Claude Boudeau (France)
• Spontaneous musical Creation by Xavier Martin (France)
• Street Life – In the Stretch of Water • Reading of Joseph Mitchell (USA) by François Tizon (France)
• The “Beste” #3 • Sculpture by Vanly Tiene (France)
• The Amber Way • Sound creation by the Jouffroy d’Abbans primary school (France) with Aurélien Bertini (France) and Corsin Vogel (Switzerland)
• The Baroque Feast • Lecture by Anne-Lise Wuillamier and Laurent Devèze (France)
• The Edge of the World • Drawings by Maureen Colomar (France)
• The Invisible Visible • Installation by MarieCéile Casier (France)
• The Ivy’s Song • Performance by Julien Blaine (France)
• Totems #2 • Sculptures by Julien Zoh Nihouah (France)
• Unicorn • Musical show by Ciconia Theatre (France)
• Vacío Pictório • Sculpture by Valery Merlano-Leemans (France)
• Varese Pavilion • Sound and visual installation by Corsin Vogel (Switzerland)
• Wood • Installation by Guillaume André (France)
• Xantos • Sculpture by Gérald Colomb (France)
Elektrophonie and ISBA
with City of Saint-Vit, Franche- Comté University (VIVO ! Entrez en nature and CIMArtS), RandOlyric, Citadel of Besançon, Gantner Multimedia Center, Atmosphères Festival, Lato Sensu Productions and Colibris Movement