The Journal of Public Space
Treegazing: How Art and Meditation Connect Peripatetic Practices as a Form of Subtle Activism.
- Heather Hesterman affiliations: RMIT University & University of Tasmania
- Amanda Hawkey affiliations: Melbourne Insight Meditation, Amayoga
Treegazing was a public walking event held in the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne as part of Melbourne Design Week 2020 inviting the public to lift their gaze, be mindful whilst acknowledging the garden’s aesthetic design and history. This walk created a temporary community of strangers who co-experienced the majestic arboreal canopies of trees and plants, reducing ‘plant blindness’ (Schussler & Wandersee, 1998).
Acknowledging the importance of ‘what stories are told’ and ‘making-kin’ (Haraway, 2016), this article explores collaborative visions between yoga and meditation practitioner Amanda Hawkey and artist Heather Hesterman. Investigating the dualities of silence/sound, open/enclosed, empty/busy and built/green spaces as a series of experiences. The act of mindful walking aims to connect the body to green spaces; to provide an embodied experience of nature. How might fundamental practices, as humans walking individually and together in public space be potential acts of transformation, of mindfulness, and environmental awareness – even subtle activism?
We argue that encouraging an engagement with nature via haptic and ocular modes of art practice and meditation may facilitate a deeper engagement with and/or increased appreciation for flora. Treegazing implicates the walkers to become part of a connective- fluidity that enacts the space not within as participants, witness nor viewers but offers a shared collective experience of both mobility and stillness with the landscape, a subtle activism that looks up and treads lightly to ‘conspire – with nature.’
Pages:231 to 244