FIELD NOTES ON REMEMBERING
Field Notes on Remembering
By Christina Catanese and Talia Mason
Field Notes on Remembering is an evolving dance work focused on the ginkgo tree, exploring memory, atonement, and ancestry on both personal and planetary levels. At 200 million years old, ginkgo teaches us how to hold deep time ranges and changing systems in our minds. In a complex stewardship story, it has thrived because of (not despite) its association with humans. The only living thing to survive the atomic bomb and a hardy urban street tree, ginkgo models resilience and intergenerationality.
Over three seasons beginning in fall 2018, we investigated through many ways of knowing and remembering, including paleobotany, natural history, neuroscience, traditional medicine, and personal stories. Indoor performances were presented during the winter months, with hundreds of gathered ginkgo leaves sharing the performance space.
A culminating outdoor performance took place near and with the large ginkgo tree at Bartram’s Garden, which was planted in 1785 and is thought to be the oldest of its species in North America. Audiences were invited to learn about the fascinating life history of one of the oldest, most familiar, and most resilient tree species on earth, as well as reflect on their own memories, stories, and lineages.