Tracing Trees


Cang Jie was gifted with four eyes. That allowed him to meticulously observe the ten thousand things. He carefully watched the moon, the stars, the clouds, the lakes, the oceans, the trees, the birds, the animals. His observational skills were extraordinary as he recognized all sorts of patterns in the world around him. One day he started to copy and simplify patterns of nature creating beautiful tiny drawings and as he portrayed more of them his collection grew. Every day he looked at his drawings and eagerly explored different arrangements and orders. When he discovered he could tell whole stories with his drawings he decided to create thousands of written characters evolving into a complex script that would allow human beings to communicate with one another and develop civilizations.

And so it happened that humans started to use writing.


As time went by some civilizations continued to use Cang Jie's script; others developed their own drawings and signs and symbols. They all enjoyed exchanging written symbols. Some people preferred not to use script at all; they thought oral communication was the best way, as telling stories to each other was considered the most intimate way of communicating.


In the course of thousands of years however, the 'civilized' humans started to drift away from nature up to the point where they completely lost touch. They could not see anymore that they were part of a bigger whole; they had forgotten that the symbols they used had originated in nature and lost all understanding of their interrelatedness with the world around them. They started to think about themselves as perfect and superior. Blinded as they were they could only see themselves. Arrogance and Ignorance became their most treasured goods; the world around them a place to be exploited.


But one day when the world had turned totally masculine and yang had reached its height, yielding yin started to silently move. Here and there women started to develop four eyes. It was astonishing how clearly they could see.

Sada Mire was one of them. Reaching out to divine trees she could look back into history for thousands of years and see interconnections between all kinds of civilizations. She listened to women explaining about fertility and sacred trees and heard generations of ancestors speaking to her.


Ursula Le Guin was another one. Her four eyes were like sparkling flashes illuminating her brain. Her brilliant thoughts were dazzling. She could see the patterns of the universe more sharply than anybody else. She meticulously scrutinized and interpreted messages in Ant, found in an anthill. She described therolinguist professor Duby's research of sea literature created by penguins flying in water. With her four eyes Ursula could see it all clearly. She predicted that phytolinguists and geolinguists would follow in the footsteps of therolinguists, and they would find it hard to grasp our current blindness:

"Do you realise,” the phytolinguist will say to the aesthetic critic, “that they couldn’t even read Eggplant?” And they will smile at our ignorance, as they pick up their rucksacks and hike on up to read the newly deciphered lyrics of the lichen on the north face of Pike’s Peak. And with them, or after them, may there not come that even bolder adventurer—the first geolinguist, who, ignoring the delicate, transient lyrics of the lichen, will read beneath it the still less communicative, still more passive, wholly atemporal, cold, volcanic poetry of the rocks: each one a word spoken, how long ago, by the earth itself, in the immense solitude, the immenser community, of space."


Cang Jie had initially developed script by observing nature. Now four-eyed Sada Mire and Ursula Le Guin activated reversal as they patiently scrutinized, carefully listened, tuning into their surroundings, smelling ancient connections, savouring long-gone memories, hearing ancestors whispering while they softly touched the breeze and the clouds and the trees. They deeply understood the beauty of all things. Syncing with nature they could recognize the traces and patterns of the universe; they understood the universe was a multiverse.


More and more women followed in the footsteps of Sada Mire and Ursula Le Guin. Four-eyed women were like rays of light, breaths of fresh air, inspirational energy in the dark tunnel. Just when everyone had thought that darkness would overshadow all light, they carved a way out showing people how to reconnect with the whole.


Tracing Trees is a series of six paintings patterning tree traces from in India, China, Germany, Belgium, and Turkey.




References: Sada Mire, Divine Fertility and Ursula Le Guin, The author of the acacia seeds and other extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics.