LIKE THAT OF A CHILD /
NUCHUKANA













Like that of a Child / Nuchukana, is a performative investigation of the body as sensuous, sensitive, agentive and expressive in relation to the world. Colour, texture, and depth - the materiality of the world is known to us only in and by the body that enters and inhabits a given place. Trees, given their size and material form are major generators of sensations, spaces and perspectives with which, through our senses, we engage with places and with nature. Landscapes are complex interweavings of subject and object- the material and the imaginative bound into our everyday encounters of local places. (Tree cultures / The place of trees and trees in their place - Owain Jones and Paul Cloke)

There is an inextricable link between people and trees, especially old trees. From all the thousands of uses we have put them to, and all the fears and desires we have projected onto them, human cultures around the world have emerged from the trees. Now that we know our abuse of trees has brought ruin to them and us, we turn again to the venerable ones, searching for some resilient spirit, eternal, or near as damn it.(Evans, P. 1999 - "Long live trees", Guardian, 29 December)

In Amerindian cultures, tree bark can be seen as another type of skin that is shed and which, like the skin of snakes and the uterus, generates new forms. The connection between tree and uterus is present in one myth about the origin of humanity where it is narrated that the ‘first people were created in a hole in a tree; and in the transcription the term used for this hole (xankin) is that normally used to refer to a womb .
The interior of a tree, its hardest part, its core, is called kwa in Kuna language. There are only two ways in which the kwa of trees is used by Kuna people. One is to make house posts,another is to carve nuchukana, best understood as ‘figures of interiority’, which stand in a metonymic relation with the invisible and immortal component of persons, purpa, or ‘soul’, or ‘image’. Amerindians regard trees as containers of ‘soul images’, and the association between hollow tree and uterus assumes new connotations. The process of ‘forming the baby’ in the mother’s uterus for the Kuna is akin to the proliferation of soul images inside trees. As trees for Kuna people host infinite primordial souls, when an elder man carves a nuchu he facilitates, as it were, the birth of a new subjectivity. (Artefacts and Bodies among Kuna People from Panama - Paolo Fortis)

Video by NAAUM (Anastasia Dumitrescu & Vlad Fenesan)
Cinematography by Patru Paunescu
Text excerpts from Cristopher Tilley - Interpreting Landscapes: Geologies, Topographies, Identities; Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology