Encuentros con árboles / Encounters with trees

En los últimos años varios proyectos han girado en torno a experiencias con árboles, lo que llamamos naturaleza y seres más que humanos…

In the last years several projects had to do with trees, what we use to call nature and more than human beings…

El jardín de conocimientos nutritivos / The garden of nurturing knowledges

Un jardín público hecho gracias a lxs vecinxs dedicdxs a reproducir y cuidar la vida se convirtió en un punto de encuentro para renovar nuestras energías y capacidades de cuidar lxs unxs de lxs otrxs. Un árbol generoso fue adaptado siguiendo la tradición peruana de la yunza, un ritual propiciatorio para celebrar la regeneración de la vida e invocar abundantes cosechas. Pero los regalos ofrecidos esta vez fueron consejos dejados por jardinerxs, madres, granjerxs y vecinxs del vecindario sobre cómo cuidar toda clase de seres, incluyendo a nosotrxs mismxs. Lxs visitantes estaban invitadxs a tomar una postal inspiradora del árbol y dejar una a cambio, escribiendo ahí mismo sus mejores ideas para nutrir y cuidar lo que amamos.

El jardín de conocimientos nutritivos es un proyecto de Eliana Otta para The School of The We, organizada por ROTOR en Graz, 2021, en el marco del Año Cultural de Graz 2020 expandido.


A public garden made thanks to neighbors dedicated to reproduce and take care of life became a meeting point to renovate our energies and capacities for taking care of each other. A generous tree became an adaptation of the Peruvian tradition of the yunza, a propitiatory ritual to celebrate the regeneration of life and invoke abundant harvests. But here the offered gifts were advices by gardeners, mothers, farmers and women from the neighborhood on how to look after all kind of beings, including ourselves. The visitors were invited to take an inspiring postcard from the tree of nurturing knowledges and leave one in return, writing on the spot their best ideas and ways to nurse what and who we love.

The nurturing knowledges’ garden is a project by Eliana Otta for The School of The We, organized by ROTOR in Graz, 2021, within the framework of the extended Graz Cultural Year 2020.

Entre Mayo y Octubre el jardín alojó todo tipo de actividades y de gente, como al artista Ila Ilarus haciendo crepes y una persona que usó el lugar como casa por algunos días. Muchas cosas pasaron en ese período, algunas plantas murieron y otras crecieron, pero lxs vecinxs nunca dejaron de traer nuevas plantas y de utilizar el espacio para reunirse.

Between May and October the garden hosted all kind of activities and people, as the artist Ila Ilarus making crepes and a person that used it as a house for a few days. Many things happened in that period, some plants died and others grew, but the neighbors never stopped bringing new ones and using the space to gather. The day before its opening, I wrote this…

The proper environment to hug a stranger

We had been working already for more than a week. The weather had been generous, sparing us the rain with a shiny sun almost every day while we received plants from the neighbors and learned from the visiting gardeners. Each day someone would give different advices and tips, sometimes contradicting each other, but the general feeling was of enthusiasm and gratitude for having a new and welcoming public space to enjoy. Working at Lendplatz, I could see that most of the faces of the strollers showed expressions of curiosity which very quickly turned into kind smiles, when it was understood that what was being created there was a garden. But the closer we were to the final result, the more I felt certain discouragement due to not having enough time to experience completely the project as I imagined it, organizing activities and encounters on site to reflect about how we care about life, beings around us and ourselves.

We were about to install the cards with replies about such issues that we collected from Lendplatz market’s farmers the day that finally rained enough as to prevent us from finishing that part of the task. I would have to leave without seeing those last details finalized, but the feeling of incompleteness had vanished. The previous night something special happened, that allowed me to leave Graz more satisfied about The Garden of Nurturing Knowledges.

We were eating outside of Rotor after a very busy day, in which we realized it was too late to buy food when we finished working. We decided to buy food across the street, take chairs, plates and cutlery out, and eat under the lights of the beautiful sign of “The School of the We”. We were toasting and laughing, enjoying our relaxed meal at the open air, when an unknown girl approached us. She crossed the street and stood in front of our group. She said: “Can you invite me a beer? I’m heartbroken and to drink something would be helpful.” We all invited her to seat with us and handed her some wine. She said she was in her way to collect her things from her boyfriend’s house, because she just broke up with him. She told us a bit about her life and then asked about ours, a funny mix of people with different nationalities and languages. We explained our provenances and what united us there: participating in “The School of the We”. When it was my turn to speak, I explained that I was working on a collective garden where people could exchange ideas, intuitions and stories of care. The girl showed a very surprised expression and said that she had been there earlier, that she read the cards I left with questions, and that one question stroke her deeply. It was the one that said “How do you take care of yourself?”. She said that she found timely to reflect about that for a moment and that suddenly, the negative words that her now ex-boyfriend used to tell her came to her mind. And she decided it was enough of it.

I stood up extremely touched by her openness and sincerity, and by the magic coincidence that we were all being part of. I hugged her immediately and we stood hugging for a while. I told her that many times when working in such projects that demand so much work and energy, we wonder if it is worth it, why we do such things and if they matter. And that now her story made me feel that it did made sense.

Then we continued talking, laughing, other magic coincidences and moments happened that night, including martial arts demonstrations and spontaneous dances with new friends of the neighborhood. I left the next day thinking about the origins of the project, when we met the women of Frauenservice and we imagined to create a space where women could share their vulnerabilities and strengths, where different cultures could coexist, where we could share fruit salad among growing plants. A place to care about each other under the sun. 

Encuentros con árboles, Oi Mouries and other trees

Oi Mouries es un grupo fluido compuesto por diferentes mujeres en épocas distintas. Originalmente reunidas por intereses comunes en torno a prácticas de sanación y adivinación, encontramos un objetivo común en compartir un proceso de aprendizaje sobre la posibilidad de comunicarnos con árboles y plantas. Ahora somos Auriane Blanc, Thalia Dimitropoulou Maria Juliana Byck, Fotini Gouseti, Eliana Otta and  Sanem Su Avcı.

«Los árboles en el monte Lykabettus, así como el cielo encima suyo y las rocas entre ellos, pueden tener muchos saberes que nosotras, humanas paseando en el bosque, podemos desconocer. ¿Cómo podemos aprender de ellos?, ¿qué queremos aprender de ellos?, ¿estamos listos para oír lo que tienen para decirnos?, ¿cómo nos relacionamos con ellos, cómo se relacionan con nosotroa?, ¿cómo experimentan la ciudad?, ¿cómo desarrollar maneras de escuchar sus historias? Creemos que haciendo preguntas adecuadas, podemos empezar a escuchar las historias de los árboles. Y que, como con cualquier conversación, al escuchar a los otros, nos escuchamos a nosotras mismas. Intentamos echar luces sobre esas historias, conscientes e inconscientes, que relacionamos a las montañas, los árboles, los parques, los espacios verdes de nuestra ciudad».


Oi Mouries and other trees is a fluid group composed by different women at different times. Originally gathered due to our common interests in healing and divination practices, we found a clearer focus in sharing a learning process regarding the possibility of communicating with trees and plants. Right now we are Auriane Blanc, Thalia Dimitropoulou Maria Juliana Byck, Fotini Gouseti, Eliana Otta and  Sanem Su Avcı.

«The trees in Lykabettus hill, as well as the sky that hangs above it and the rock beneath those trees, may have a lot of knowledge that we as humans wandering on those hills, may not know. How can we learn from them? What do we want to learn from them? Are we ready to hear what they have to tell us? How do we relate to them, how do they relate to us? What is their experience of the city? How would we develop the means to hear their stories? We believe that by asking the right questions, one can begin to hear the stories of the trees. And as with any conversation, by listening to others we listen to ourselves. We aim to bring to light the stories, conscious and unconscious, that we relate to the hill, the trees, the parks, the public green spaces of our city.»

So far we have worked creating encounters between people and trees in Lykabettus hill and Pedio tou Areos park, in Athens, Greece, 2021.

Y como parte del programa de la exposición que curé, Lost and Shared, hicimos el taller

Boceteando rituales para la regeneración de los bosques

Un taller de tres horas para imaginar, discutir y poner en práctica ideas de rituales para procesar duelos, acompañar y curar los bosques perdidos. Este encuentro está inspirado por los fuegos recientes en Grecia, y es una invitación abierta a quienes, como nosotras, sienten la necesidad de hacer algo, aunque no sepamos exactamente qué. Quizá lo podemos averiguar juntas…

Sketching rituals for the regeneration of forests

A three-hour workshop to imagine, discuss and put in practice ideas for rituals to mourn, accompany, and heal with our lost forests. This encounter is inspired by the recent fires in Greece, and is an open invitation to those who, like us, feel the need to do something without knowing exactly what. Maybe we will find out together.

Mensajes a través de las raíces

Un intercambio de mensajes entre seres humanos y árboles, lxs unxs haciendo de médiums para lxs otros, en su intento de despedirse de bosques perdidos en los últimos años. Hecho en el parque Academia Plátonos, Atenas, 2020.

Messaging through the roots

A message exchange between human beings and trees, all of them turned into mediums in an attempt to create a farewell for forests lost in the last years. Made at Akadimia Platonos Park, Athens, 2020.

Jardín genealógico

Intervención y ritual. Trabajo colaborativo hecho con Tilsa Otta, 2019.

La yunza es una actividad sincrética practicada en el Perú durante los carnavales. Esta celebración simboliza la abundancia por medio de un árbol cargado de regalos, que entre bailes y brindis, cae como ofrenda a la pachamama (madre tierra, sobre simplificando la traducción). La Yunza genealógica invita a los asistentes a compartir sus referencias más atesoradas, combinándolas en sus ramas expansivas. Así, nuevas «familias» fueron creadas, dando forma al jardín genealógico de lxs participantes. En el día de la yunza, cortamos las ramas, leímos y cantamos los textos, canciones e imágenes que contenían, recibiendo los regalos de un árbol cargado de conocimiento.

Yunza Genealógica

Intervention and ritual. Collaborative work with Tilsa Otta, 2019.

The yunza is a syncretic activity practiced in all Peru, during carnival. This celebration symbolizes abundance through a tree loaded with gifts, that, among dances and toasts, fall as an offering to the pachamama (mother earth). The Yunza Genealógica invited the assistants to share their most treasured references, merging them in the expanding branches. Thus, new “families” were created, giving shape to the genealogical garden of the participants. On the yunza day, we cut the “branches”, read and sang the texts, songs and images that they contained, receiving the gifts of a tree charged of knowledge.