Listening to the Layers of Time

Photo: Aksel Pépin

We asked the artists participating in the symposium to share their thoughts/responses after the weekend we spent together. Here are Kyuja Bae’s reflections:

When the rain drops on a tree,
is the sound that is heard in my ears the voice of the rain? Or is it the voice of the tree?

I have been wondering about it for a long time since I was little until the day when I met a precious old wise tree at the farm called Skuterud Gård at Nesodden in Norway 2020.

The tree at the farm was 700 years old. Its beauty was beyond my words that I could express in any language. During the Variations of Beckett Symposium 2020 organized by Schouskollektivet, I had a grateful opportunity to spend 3 days at the farm together with the tree, other inspiring talented artists and various lovely animals such as horses, sheeps, chickens, dogs, cats and many more.

On the last day of the symposium, we worked in two groups and I was in the group focused on dreams and memories. We were exploring the theme- dreams and memories under the rain right next to the 700 years old tree. There was a moment when we all stood around the tree, putting our hands on it. Even though it was a very short time, it strongly felt for me as if through my warm hand, I could clearly hear a sound which was not the voice of the rain nor the voice of the tree, but the voice of the meeting or connection itself between the rain and the tree.

I could imagine how many precious memories that the tree and the rain have been having together in their connection for over 700 years. The sound I heard on that day under the tree through my hand when it was rainy seemed like the voice of the long memories and dreams of the tree and the rain. The collective dreaming voice of the tree and the rain telling the layers of their time.

Thanks to the experience, I could expand my imagination into an awareness connecting it with our human feelings or energies we feel and sense. What if our feelings are the same as the collective dreaming voice of the tree and the rain that we human beings sometimes feel and sense  deeply within us when we are connected with someone. The deep uncontrollable feelings arose in us in connection with other human beings might be the layers of time in us as our forgotten stories. The voice of our collective memories and dreams that the karma knows and remembers throughout the uncountable life times together in different forms and names.

During the final presentation at the symposium, my group stood or sat in the sea or on the rocks of the sea as sea trees, facing many nows at once as the inspiring poet Alicja Rosé cited as a part of the presentation. Rain was present there too with us on that moment and I could hear the layers of our time together between the rain and me also among all of us in the group as well as the audience as I could hear it under the 700 years old tree.

If my child asks me, now I think I can tell her that the sound we hear when the rain drops on a tree, it is not the voice of the rain nor the voice of the tree. But it is the collective dreaming voice of the rain and the tree, telling us about their stories together by remembering the layers of their time.

Thank you once again to all who organized and participated in the Variations of Beckett Symposium 2020 and also came to see our presentations which felt like a meaningful collective dream itself for me. And thank you too, the 700 years old tree at the farm and the rain and the sea that are like my wise masters.

Kyuja Bae, August 2020