Letonniemi (ps. tässä linkki muotohahmotelmaan äänen kanssa: PERFORMINGWOODS)
Letonniemi nature reserve is a place that I also use as a place for my experiences in this thesis. Letonniemi is a proximity 1,5 square kilometre sized nature reserve in the small cape area at the sea cost of Oulu. The area is turned in to the nature reserve after being a pasture for decades as being the fertile field land appearing from the sea as a a consequence of the land rising.
There are marked trails that you must follow when moving in the area and it is not recommended to go walking around outside the trails.
Even though Letonniemi is a nature reserve and a part of natura-2000 program as place to reserve natural inhabitant of birds and other animals it is also very popular recreational destination. In a very few occasions you can walk there without coming across with other people. And here comes the interesting part of peoples behavior in this forest. When coming across to people in the trails of Letonniemi, almost everyone greet you with a subtle smile on their faces. But if come across to these same people on the walkway 200meters away from the forest, they don't even look at you.
I find this small detail a very interesting thing to observe as a part of performing oneself int his kind of environment. I myself feel the urge to greet other people in the forest even though I don't know why. I guess that there might be some kind of mutual feeling of finding similarity by being the kind of persons who want to come in this kind of place. And this arouses the the acclaim that there are certain qualities and attributes that this kind of people hold within them and that they come in to this place with a certain probably similar intention. The greeting in a way is a signal to the other as "I know what you mean", or as "your enjoying this too aren't you".
It almost feels that it is a mandatory task to behave like this when encountering other people in the trails and that it would be against some kind of code to for example walk there with your headphones on staring on the ground in a self-contained manner. Of course not, this place is reserved for people who appreciate the nature and express to other individuals how much they enjoy experiencing it.
Forest turning in to a set, a prop for a performance performed to oneself in order to live true the idea of the image one holds about the self. Hanna Weselius writes in her column for Suomen Kuvalehti about her experience when walking in the Uutela forest in eastern Helsinki. She talks about how there has been a process of reserving the forest but how the actual outcome of this process is that the forest is being turned in to scenery. "Futile" and "dangerous" trees are being removed and the undergrowth is cleaned from the forest bed. (SK, 50/2021) In a way the forest is turned in to a sign of a forest. It has to be turned in to form where people recognize it as the similar kind of atmosphere that they have in their heads. In the woods you have the trees that look like generic normal trees. The forest is shaped in the form that we humans want it to look like. If the undergrowth takes over too much or some anomalities appear we dont see it as a place that means "the forest" to us. It stops being a clear scenery because it starts to have the life and a character of its own that interferes our own performance acted in front of it.
Jean Baudrillard writes about the Disneyland being the place that's intention while pretending to be the imaginary place is to actually hide the fact that the whole american society around it has become an imaginary place. According to Baudrillard, Disneyland tries to enforce the idea that it is the imaginary and the world outside of it is real. He states in an interesting manner the idea that adults act as children in the Disneyland in order to believe that their actions are adult like on the outside, even though they aren't. (Baudrillard, ......... )
In a same manner the.....
As Heidegger talks about in is writings about Gelassenheit, (Heidegger, 1959) how we are nowadays closer to media imagery brought to us in our homes than we are to our neighborhood and its elements. the actual attributes and phenomena ocuring in the nature reserve just about hundred meters away from my living room feel in a way far more distant to me than the lives and neighborhoods of a fictive or totally unfamiliar person presented to me via movies and documents. And its not only as the information I conceive from these areas and places but the way this contradiction makes me to observe and experience the environment. I have seen countless nature documents consisting staggering beautiful imagery shoot from multiple different perspectives and distances, and get to know the processes and mechanics affecting the lives of organisms in these environments. The images are being precented to me in order to create an experience, an carefully designed aesthetic affect. This endless "consuming" of these imagery has started to affect the way I observe the nature and especially the way I percieve the idea of nature.
When going to the forest I feel that I try to observe it as an object, a representation of it self, that's reason to exist is to be experienced by me. Forest is a limited space with prefixed rules of behaviour and codes that I enter as a guest in order to collect myself the pre-meditated experience.
So my visit to the forest is not anymore a visit to a certain forest, (in this case the Letonniemi reserve, but instead the visit to the idea of forest, and in this action of mine the Letonniemi only works as a representation of which against I can project my own ideas. In a way this is just one version of the same phenomena of Baudrillard's idea of simulation. I enter the actual real forest in order to live true and the emotions and sensations I experienced while watching the nature documentary. I walk the path observing the forest opening in both sides. Its like a visit to the Vatican. There you force yourself through the art objects and ower crouded spaces in a hurry, pretending to be wathcing and experiencing them , while in fact you are just experiencing the pre-meditated idea of visiting
.....Performaitivity of places caused by the performative nature of the way phenomena is represented to us via different media.... !!!!!!