Waldenken – Forest Thinking


Sabina Holzer and Jack Hauser visit neigbour forest, or, the owls are not what they seem to be. Performer Sabina Holzer and visual artist Jack Hauser take their audience on a “fictionautical” excursion into the “Zone”: there, almost invisibly, exchanges begin between humans and the forest. What is the forest? Who is it? How much is it?



Photos: Eva Engelbert

A project by Sabina Holzer & Jack Hauser in the frame of Mission W
Curated by: Eva Engelbert and Katrin Hornek
Place: Wienerwald

Duration: 2 hours —This performance has a maximum audience of 15, please register by emailing.


Welcome to the zone. We’re happy to spend the next 2 hours together with you. My name is Sabina Holzer, and this is Jack Hauser. We’re here today because we want to approach the stories of the forest and call our attention to how they permeate our own stories, and which experiences may result from that. We will get to know obvious and mysterious things. For what would life be without mysteries. Dying, too, is full of mysteries, and the one cannot exist without the other. This zone is a sphere, a biosphere. It has a thin hull extending about 60 kilometres above and 5 kilometres
beneath the ground. On entering this zone, we start to interact with it, with the life forms, materials, substances, smells,
light waves, refractions and micro-organisms created from it. We enter into exchange, because that is a fundamental quality of living beings. Therefore, life always and on principle changes the environment and the space it colonises or moves through.
Our mission is to accompany you through this zone over the next 2 hours. During our wanderings through the forest, “The Memories of the Molecule” were very helpful, and we would like to pass them on to you so that we’ll be able to concentrate on “becoming molecular”. Becoming molecular consists of several steps we will take on our trail.

What does becoming molecular mean? Progressive becoming: Becoming woman / child / animal / plant / minerals / molecules. Continuous becoming, permanent birth, constant change and transformation, perpetual becoming. Important for this are “zones of proximity”. Zones of proximity means that we will stay together, possibly with a maximum of 3 metres distance from the next person. However, “zones of proximity” does not only concern ourselves, but all the visible and invisible beings and agents permeating us. Perhaps we will become strange kinds of wolf children, fauns, nymphs,or appear as other unidentifiable intermediate beings. Whatever we’ll turn into, we are molecular collectives.

We always are several. I am several. You are several. We, anyway. So we will stay together and should never be farther than 3 metres from another during our walk. As a child I had a favourite game in the woods: In treetops, shreds of sky, clouds, branches, leaves, moss and flowers I tried to find and detect formations, figures and signs, something that would tell me something about and of the invisible world, that would let me make contact with it. On our path and our becoming (molecular), too, it will occur that the invisible world gets in touch with us and we with it. So: What is the invisible world? The backside of the person standing opposite me, for example. Or much of that which is bigger than I am. Often that which I’m thinking about. Everything that is not Now, that has happened. Sometimes there are traces of it now, but a huge part of it is invisible. That which will be: invisible. Many processes of exchange are invisible, but often they are audible and palpable. In the zone, the various matters are oscillation fields of varying density. We will enter and get in contact with these oscillation fields. Trees often are as large underground as the treetop visible to us.
Forming roots below the surface, together with other beings and fungi, bacteries, micro-organisms, small animals – a network of exchange by means of nutrients, fluids. They are an essential, invisible part of our visible world. The one does not work without the other. This subterranean world also communicates via oscillation. Thus, each step we take means making contact with this network under the earth. With every step we are telling the roots and trees who and how we are. Our walking is a conversation with the trees.
So that we may hear or receive what the forest and its inhabitants are telling us we will not talk while we are walking. Walking itself is our talk. We contact our senses, our nervous system with the tempo and weight of our steps.

I had a dream. I heard a voice that told me: all human beings are different. Look at the trees, and you will understand. Why the trees, I’m asking myself and looking at the trees. Perhaps because we are in such direct contact with the trees. Because they, even if we are not there in the forest, provide the oxygen we need to breathe. But not only that: When we inhale, the air flows through nose and mouth into our windpipe, from where it enters our lungs. The right lung is divided into three lobes, the left one into two. The windpipe fans out into ever finer branches, the bronchia. These eventually become a very fine netting terminating in the pulmonary alveoli. In the two halves of the lungs these cover an area of about 200 square metres. Between alveoli and lung capillaries the gas exchange takes place. Fresh oxygen enters through the alveoli into the capillary blood, and by way of the lung venoles reaches the left chamber of the heart. Blood rich in carbon dioxide comes from the right chamber’s arterioles and is absorbed by the alveoli. When we exhale, the carbon dioxide leaves our body. Trees use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. With the help of carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight they produce glucose which can be used by all living beings as a source of energy and carbon.

Imitating, becoming similar, becoming imperceptible. We, as molecular collectives imitate, emulate, let ourselves be permeated, become like everything else. We let ourselves be changed by what we perceive. For instance, zones of proximity with the trees. The trees here appear: standing, leaning, lying. We follow suit. We are moved by the wind of our breath. We take up the wind which moves the branches and leaves, are made to oscillate by it. Becoming molecular level 2 means: Movements are clear. They are not always visible, but in any case perceptible.

Before us a fibrillating and finding, a flashing and trembling, forgetting here, forgetting there, from above and below the human being, connected given away, promised forgiven, forgotten in its disposition, its existence and its going. See threads of fungi, fibres and felts fabulating, connecting with the earth, and there find their food just like the tree. In this nourishing and consuming they remain here yet are not there, are invisible in one place and secret with the visible below and above with the mycelium with the grumpy human who sometimes is able to spend days of joy. Fungi. Felting. Finding. Disappearing. Threads. Matting. Thread beings, those fungi. Merging with the tree. A dream. Once again. Fabricating. Fabulating. Earth. Water. Air. Light. As above, so below. Humans finding themselves in the middle. Und has a plea. I’m asking you. Bed me. As above, so below. Flies and traps. Becoming on earth. Or under it. Quite frisky. The fungi. With their threads. Provide for the trees’ tomorrow. Fungous felting of roots. Nothing but threads. Neither plant nor beast. Yet here with us. Expand the volume in the ground. Fungi get sugar. Trees get minerals. Symbiosis. Hypnosis. What am I doing here. Fabulating along the fibres. Tree fibres. Muscle fibres. Fabulating neighbours. Pondering. Meandering. Nightshade growth, I. Blossoms and leaves. At any weather. The liking the lapsing of leaves. Branches and twigs. Do not keep silent. Dear treasure. Myclium. Let yourself be found, and bind growth to good. Please, says the human in the middle. In between. In. The woods.

As above, so below. Humans finding themselves in the middle.
Seen proportionally, the space around the human being is as big as inside it. Sun, moon, and stars remind us of protons, neutrons, and electrons. The word “nature” comes from Latin and means “getting born”. Does our thinking influence that which is around and inside us? Sometimes something changes. Well, actually mostly. All the time. Mostly one discerns between animate nature (humans, animals, plants) and inanimate nature (fluids, stones, gases). Becoming molecular, we know that these are similar building materials, only in different aggregation states. Various combinations and densities of monoxide, dioxide, trioxide, carbohydrates, sugar, amino acids and minerals, or something to that effect. As part of the molecular collectives I am applying for a visa regarding a prolonged stay in permeable territories. These not only exist here in the zone but everywhere, wherever and whenever I perceive myself as a permeable territory, as an established alien, as a cross-species hybrid. I’m just noticing that the trees are getting near us with their terpenes (carbon structures) – for the trees’ language is chemistry – can you hear it, too? Let us create a zone of proximity with them for another few moments. Thank you. (Sabina Holzer, translated by David Ender)