Think Like A Mountain _ if you know what I mean: For the title of a residency at cultureland.nl I proposed a small experimental research with the working title „think like a mountain because colonizing heaven might not be such a good idea. Thinking like a mountain, for me was a metaphorical starting point.
Well to propose to think like a mountain in a very flat landscape as the polder landscape around Starnmeer could be understood as very headless, if this is a word. Anyway but it is not like that. Actually it is exactly because of the flat landscape that I proposed it. The notion behind it addresses our capacities of imagination. How can we think like a mountain in a flat landscape and why? It is an attempt to question in a poetic way why we think what we think – why we feel what whe feel – and why we hear what we hear and so on and how it would sound like if we imagine it from other ways of being like for example a mountain in this case. So this notion of thinking like a mountain is just a possible example for it and can be understood also as an example of how to address the universe as your library. To be curious about the things we encounter and explore them beyond the fact that we LOOK AT THEM AND THINK WE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE: If I say mountain, you definitely might all have a very concrete image in mind in less than even a second, but what comes to your mind if you try to imagine to think like a mountain? Any concrete ideas? I dont know it either. Of course you might google it as I did and as expected there is something to be found: „Thinking like a mountain“ is in fact a term coined by Aldo Leopold. In his book A SAND COUNTRY ALMANAC (1949) in the section scetches here and there he discusses the thought process as a holistic view on where we stand in the whole ecosystem. To think like a mountain for him means to have complete appreciation for the profound interconnectedness of all elements in the ecosystem. He came up with the term by watching a wolf die.
Many philosophers, ancient and contemporary as well as natural scientists etc. have been thinking on the place of humans in nature. The past years we have been able to follow up many discussions on the so called Anthroporocene which examines the influence of the humans on the natural conditions or natural disasters but it has been discussed controversially and critisized for overemphasizing influence of the humans as such. Now we find new proposals for example from Donna Harraway in her book STAYING WITH THE TROUBLE where she proposes a kind of making odd kinships, which means somethingl like making kinships with other species in order to get another interronnectednes with other beings.
So for me the notion of thinking like a mountain implies this idea of other ways of becoming by trying to put yourself in the position of a mountain. This title does not want to explain the work or the research interest neither the work should work because of the title. Rather it proposes a kind of an entrance into a state of being between poetry and paradox. Which understands the imagination as the starting point for a participatory realism. As the research itself is the work, somehow. It’s about the materialization of an idea that I understand only incompletely.
The video was installed at the storefront at Cultureland and could be listened from the street, Admiraal de Ruijterweg 181, Amsterdam.