Fermynwoods Podcast 18 – Danny Treacy & Johannes Zits

For this episode of the Fermynwoods Contemporary Art Podcast artists Danny Treacy and Johannes Zits from our Treewilder exhibition at Barnwell Country Park, share a drink and conversation with Marie-Chantal Hamrock, one half of our podcast curators SUBTERRA.

With both artists work speaking to and of the trees, it has been suggested that Danny might represent the dark, whilst Johannes the light. However through the following conversation, both artists reveal how such binary oppositions might in fact not be the case and the works coalesce and converge – meeting at what is perhaps the most intriguing uniting theme: joy.

Books and films referred to in this episode:

  • Bennett, Jane, Vibrant Matter: a Political Ecology of Things, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010)
  • Lowman, Margaret D., The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us, (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021)
  • Nomadland, dir. by Chloé Zhao (Searchlight Pictures, 2020)
  • Tiffany, Daniel. Infidel Poetics: Riddles, Nightlife, Substance, (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2009)
  • Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2015)

This episode has been edited by Astrid Björklund, the other half of SUBTERRA. A transcript of the episode is available here.

The music for this episode was composed and performed by Na Dùil, the melodic magus of the munro.

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Images: Assemblages Part 6, # 15, (LN+JP) at Barnwell Country Park, Danny Treacy 2022, photo Andy Eathorne; Assemblages Part 6, # 16, (J) & Assemblages Part 6, # 15, (LN+JP), Danny Treacy 2022; Collective Territories The Woods, Assemblage 8, #1, – Danny Treacy, 2022, photos Andy Eathorne; A poetic exchange found at Barnwell Country Park, 2023; A Gathering With Young Birch Trees, Johannes Zits 2022, photo Andy Eathorne.

The accompanying visual is a video response to the episode, by artist Sapphire Goss.

Danny Treacy is interested in territories where people gather because there is nowhere else to go, where communities exist in a fragile state as a result of social exclusion. Often these places are overlooked and not perceived to have a positive function, yet through human interaction and intervention act as a collective for those who are dislocated or marginalised; gathering the material for his work from these ‘Fertile Grounds’, social rituals and signs of affection and devotion. Danny has won various awards including the inaugural Jerwood / Portfolio Photography Award and the Photographer’s Gallery Award. His work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions including Galleria Jardin, Mexico; Joye Gallery, Belgium; Blue Sky Gallery, USA; and Manchester Central Library, Manchester.

Johannes Zits’ multi-disciplinary practice focuses on the many meanings engendered by a body, both human and non-human; extending the notion of the performer to include nature itself. Based in Toronto, Canada, Johannes has presented work both across Canada and internationally since the mid-80s. In 2019 the Copenhagen Contemporary Museum commissioned him to create a performance score for their permanent collection and he performed at the International Biennial of Asuncion, Paraguay. In 2020, Johannes was the artist-in-residence at Western University’s McIntosh Gallery in London, Ontario, presenting the exhibition Listening To Trees.

For Xylophobia our guest curators for the Fermynwoods Podcast are Marie-Chantal Hamrock and Astrid Björklund. Marie and Astrid have previously collaborated as SUBTERRA for Aerial Community Radio in Aberdeen, which “navigates speculative narratives of the chthonic (of relating to or inhabiting the underworld) through text, poetry, soundscapes and music.”  The two bring their own flavour to a new series of 10 Xylophobia-themed Podcast episodes.

Sapphire Goss is a multimedia artist who uses obsolete technologies to explore experimental materiality and hybrid collaborative forms to make work that grows, decays and lives beyond the screen. Sapphire responds to each Xylophobia podcast episode with a new video.