I am the forest. You need me.

Summers are short in Norway and nature knows no time is to be lost. Come June, Bergsmyrene farm, tucked away on a peninsula an hour outside of Oslo, bursts and buzzes with energy. The days are endless, squash is growing by the hour. Tomatoes and cucumbers demand pruning, elder trees blossom, radishes, salads and spring onions want to be harvested. Everyone on the farm is up in arms. Summer is the time of going all in and tiring yourself out. If you wander away from the feverish buzz, pass the chickens, the tractors grilling in the sun and make your way to the forest close-by you may hear voices in the trees. Some giggling, scraps of conversation carried and taken apart by the breeze, “no, not like this, try to put your foot on my head, yes that’s better, wheeeee we go“. You might glimpse a foot, a head, four legs – or was it six? – up high in the birch tree. It may all have been a dream, or the sunstroke kicking in, perhaps some trolls of which there are plenty around here. But then more giggling follows and you find two pairs of legs and arms flying down on you, and quite rapidly indeed, and all you can do to avoid a crash is to throw yourself into the blueberries.

Those arms and legs belong to Heidi and Abigael, two circus artists who are part of Acting for Climate, a group of dancers, acrobats and performers from Norway, Finland, Denmark and Germany. Occasionally the group comes to Bergsmyrene Gård to rehearse for upcoming performances. The farmer is an old friend of the Abigael and used to be an acrobat and dancer himself before taking over the farm business. The giant trampoline in the barn is a leftover from his more active years. Acting for Climate’s latest performance is called BARK. It premiered in April 2021 in Norway and since then has traveled from forest to forest all over Scandinavia. This April 2022, BARK is coming to Munich. The show is a unique mixture of group acrobatics, vertical dancing, physical theatre, music and poetry. It is set in a forest and the performers stress the fact that the main protagonist of BARK is the forest itself, and the soil and the trees. A voice coming from deep within this multi-species world sets the tone of the performance: “I am the forest. You need me“ The forest speaks, we better listen.

Acting-for-Climate, Bark

Acting for Climate, as their title suggests, is deeply involved with bridging the arts and environmentalism. Through their multi-sensory performances involving music, poetry, dance and breathtaking acrobatics the artists aim to inspire people to take up action for a more sustainable future. They wish to provoke thoughts and action, to engage people in acts of tenderness and care towards the very world we dwell in and depend on. Sustainability, for Abigael, Emma, Heidi and Co. is not a fancy green term or even just a theme for their performance. The group thinks a lot about what sustains them, what keeps them able to do what they want to be doing, how they want to be living. They aim to make their touring process as sustainable as possible, sometimes touring by bike, at other times on a beautiful old three-mast sailing boat, taking days off to rest and recover even in the whirl of touring.

Acting-for-Climate, Bark

BARK Performance will be part of the Freeman Contemporary Circus Festival 2022 and will take place in Munich Perlacher Forst. Performances are scheduled from 23rd of April to 30th of April. Tickets for BARK here

There will also be an online artist talk with Abigael Winsvold, Heidi Miikki, Emma Langmoen and Frøydis Dahlø (Acting for Climate) and Symbio(s)cene hosted by PD Dr. Tina Heger, Ingrid Rügemer and Prof. Oliver Szasz

Online artist talk:
Activating Environmental Awareness: From Aesthetic Experience to an Ecological Mindset

Tuesday 26 April, 6pm, CEST

More information about the talk

Image Source: © Cosmin Cirstea

Anne-Sophie Balzer

Anne-Sophie Balzer

Anne-Sophie is a journalist, literary scholar, poet, and admirer of all things wild. Growing up on the edge of the Black Forest in Southern Germany she left for the North at the first chance. Having dwelled both in the “ghosts of glaciers“ (landscapes formed by retreating ice sheets) in Germany, the UK and Norway and in close proximity to living glaciers up North she turned her long-year fascination with icy landscapes into a research project. Since October 2021 Anne-Sophie is a fellow at the (Re)thinking Environment doctoral program at Augsburg University and LMU Munich. “Writing with Glaciers“, her PhD project, is an inquiry into ecopoetics written under the influence of the Anthropocene, a time in which our ideas of being in control and of being in the knowing are faltering. Anne-Sophie writes and publishes poetry in tiny English poetry magazines that no one knows.