Otta Trip

In a lovely season humans call the first in the year (which is odd in a pattern of circular time) we took hold of three humans to walk them, or walk through them, or walk as them.

So we walked in an area of forest which is part of yet another Western suburb of Vienna – Ottakring. 

Another district defined by a hidden brook, the Ottakringer Bach.  

Yet this forest in Ottakring is a special one. It harbours a scientific test area. The test area is separated from the “ordinary” public forest by a metal fence.

Humans are strange. Is this a merely symbolic border, fragile as it is?

Or does it mark a solid difference? Is there something going on inside that test forest, something odd, something experimental, maybe even something dangerous?

We walked our humans, as our humans, along the fence to sense the difference.

Forest inside. And on the fence a twig that looks like a message from the witches.

Forrest Outside. It looks very similar.

Maybe the secret lies in the pattern of the fence

Puzzled, we make our humans use “Frottage”, a tactile method of manifesting patterns by drawing over them with soft pencils.

Surfaces of organic and human origin enter new relations.

The metallic knot of the fence seems to hold a message. 

The paper sheets get placed in a tree’s elbow.

Patterns emerge, but no clear message.

Is this an ornament, a mark or a wound?

Finally we give up. Our humans gather to eat and drink.

For they still need more than mere patterns. 

Maybe the secret just lies in the ordinary forest, left to its own devices.

Like growing new leaves.

The difference remains a mystery.

But behold!

Here we see how “dead wood” is not only the horizontal counterweight to the vertical trees, and hence a great enrichment of patterns, but yet again evidence to the intimate relations of organisms and “inorganic” or “dead” matter. 

A forest containing dead wood is more alive than one without it.

In general we admire our friends, the trees, for their special quality to be always at least in part also a little dead, which helps them to stay alive longer.

Thus they are very similar to the complex multitude that is us.

A similar case. This time under human control.

Compost is happening, as millions of our friends, microbes and fungi, eat away at dead bodies to digest them into new earth. 

Again a fence is indicating that something which is the most universal process of nature, and thus beyond all human boundaries, should be considered a piece of private property. 

A grave error.

Noone can own the miracle of composting.

While some insist on their private property, others keep looking for what they have lost.

Apparently a cat left their “owner”.

A cat their owner has named after the old Greek god of sleep – “Morpheus”.

This announcement in a plastic wrapping tells us so. 

The message seems eroded, “Morpheus” long gone.

Oh all that searching for lost things that have never really been private property. 

The melancholy of suburbia.