The performative installation Wil is about a large tree trunk that lies in the food forest on the Utopia island, between the old Weerwater and the new hermetic Floriade site in Almere.
Wil is a part of a tree trunk that, before the Floriade was introduced on this site, stood as squat willow (Salix Fragilis) on this site and was in full growth. The tree that Wil once was provided us with oxygen, provided shade and shelter for animals and humans and was in close contact with its congeners. Wil played an important role in the ecosystem that was located on Utopia Island. Yet Wil had to give way to man's wishes. Now Wil is about 3 by 1 meter long and takes an impressive place in the food forest. It has a characteristic appearance and for the observant among us it is visible that, even though Wil is 'dead', there is still full of life going on in, on and around the tree trunk. Wil offers shelter to insects, provides mushrooms and other fungi with food (sometimes causing them to be eaten) and thus protects other living trees.
For me, Wil symbolizes the position of humans in this world. A world in which we still put ourselves first, making decisions based on what is good for us, while nature, especially trees and fungi, knows much better than we do what is good for nature. Who are we humans to decide about nature? Will symbolizes our eagerness, arrogance, lust, abuse of power and suffocating systems.
Will is a victim. Will is a sign. Can Wil save us from our own destruction?
From a philosophical posthumanistic thought and position that I adopt as an artist and theater maker, I make a performative installation in which the audience is taken into Wil's story. By following Wil's story and by anthropomorphizing the tree trunk, I hope to arouse empathy in the public for Wil and his environment in order to question the position of the public, the human being. What is the position of humans in the ecosystem, but also what is the position of humans here in this place? By looking back to the past and facing what is happening in the present, we can ask ourselves what our position towards the ecosystem will look like in the future.
The performative installation Wil was commissioned by festival 2 Turven Hoog and the Floriade 2022.