This initial attempt to assign Forest a text that is constantly being made presents itself as a problem – the speech of an organism such as Forest in the Pešter plateau emerges as immanently anthropocentric. Speech, language, of which humans are made, but not Forest, will later on become a subject of Forest’s speech, but for now, at the beginning, it is solely a question of form. The FOREST PARLIAMENT will further discuss which exact tree, which individual or collective organism, which shrub or mushroom or twig could speak at that (or any) moment. At present, decisions such as whether Forest’s voice is human, whether it is generic, whether it is male, female, or gender-non-conforming, choral or singular, have yet to be made. It is certain that others speak through Forest as well, for example, Father definitely also speaks through Forest, as well as the authors, occasionally. And someone else speaks through Father – Mother, often, and Daughter and Forest as well. The language spoken by Forest is the authors’ mother tongue, which was then translated into English (the language of grant applications and contemporary art). Forest, through no effort of her own, without having taken any language courses or passed any exams, is nonetheless fluent in and, when needed, speaks various human, Slavic, and Germanic languages.
She, Forest, is joined by other voices. Voices that are undoubtedly human.
One of them stands out – no doubt male, no doubt singular. (Even though he has bacteria in his intestines, with which he lives in symbiosis, even though he has fungi up and down his digestive tract, even though he has colleagues at the Institute, even though he has families.) We may agree about his nature and origins, but not necessarily about the way he engages in dialogue with Forest. It is clear that Forest speaks his language, that she has adapted to him. Sometimes he appears in order to correct Forest, in order to explain to her something about her genesis, and sometimes to tend to it. Incidentally, he certainly played a role in her genesis. He is Father, he is a forestry engineer. He is a recreational hunter and was an underage partisan fighter in World War II. They are working on a concept of summer reforestation and it is thanks to them that she is where she is now.
We’re intending to get inside someone else’s father, or my father, or a forest we’ve never been to, or a forest we’ve entered many times before, and not recoil in fear, but imagine instead what Father says and then what Forest says. It is a land where, in a way, both of them come from, but not quite, where we were born, too. It, the land, won’t say anything. It was the state, and not the land that gave rise to the tree. (And that’s not quite true either.) Father was born before the state. Forest was created by means of reforestation, a sound, elaborate plan, and not by a tree spontaneously sprouting from a piece of land; rather, it grew out of a state, and in the shape of a state.
Authors: Tanja Šljivar, Dušica Dražić, Mirjana Dragosavljević
Voices: Vladislava Đorđević, Željko Maksimović, Paul Murray
Sound: Bojan Palikuća
Production: Ana Vuković
Translation (Serbo-Croatian to English): Žarko Cvejić
Proofreading (English): Paul Murray
The online event is supported by the Flemish Authorities _ Cultural Activity Premie.