My friend Nadine Rennert and I have been working on a Manga Opera, the Saga of Blue Wolf, for several years. The project started when I was still hanging out in Berlin. Since I have returned home to France, each year we meet in a different place for a self appointed artist residence. It is my job to find unusual locations. The nicest one was in the Pyrénées : a big garden, a yurt, a bamboo house, a trailor, all solar powered & down to earth. For this location I was even awarded a metal of honour.
Nadine is a sculptor and visual artist from Berlin. She has a fascinating way of combining a reserved almost conservative demeanour with a fanciful and even extravagant composure. She lives in Charlottenburg, which is considered a bourgeois part of Berlin and belongs to a circle of ladies I call the Charlottenburg shamans, who participate in full moon drumming circles and other uncouth activities.
This year I moved our residence to Umbria in Italy, in a very small town which offered us a home made artist residence. We were to meet in the early spring, but the pandemic interfered with our plans. Nadine’s flight to Rome was cancelled; what’s more, no one new when it would be possible to fly again.
Nadine was disappointed and found a very unusual way of dealing with this problem. During one of our phone conversations, the idea came up that she should travel disguised as a tree in order to fool the vigilance of the imaginary border patrol.
Nadine took it from there and started writing the story of the lady who wanted to practice the lost art of tree walking. She wrote the script, created the tree costume and then shot the video; she is both the director and the actress of this rather elaborate creation.
This story illustrates the power of imagination. When she was denied the freedom to travel, Nadine invented an imaginary form of travel which takes on a magical form.
More power to the Charlottenburg shaman for inventing a new form of shape shifting.