SE15 Forest – Rachel Gomme

A series of bark rubbings (approx 0.5 cm x 8 cm) in graphite on white paper, mounted on brown paper
Rye Hill Park forest Photo Credit: Rachel Gomme
A series of bark rubbings (approx 0.5 cm x 8 cm) in graphite on white paper, mounted on brown paper
SE15 Forest Photo Credit: Rachel Gomme

When a major project making performance with trees in Grenoble was curtailed by lockdown in March 2020, I needed to keep connection with the street trees that are a focus of my current practice. I embarked on a solo project to meet and “map” all of the street trees in my postcode area of SE15 (which probably number several thousand). Walking a street at a time, I take a few moments with each tree planted there, observing its unique features and condition, finding a connection, and then (asking permission) taking a bark rubbing in graphite. In the process, conversations about the project sometimes arise with passers-by. The bark rubbings will eventually be collated into a “map”, the form of which is yet to be decided (the image shows one possible version). Part of the aim is to draw attention to the unique character and history of each tree, and to the importance of these quiet beings in the urban environment. This is a long-term project, weather-dependent, but I hope to complete it within the next year. 

Rachel Gomme works in performance and installation. Working predominantly site-specifically and interactively, her performance practice centres on solo durational performance in outdoor and indoor, rural and urban environments, one-to-one interactions that explore shared presentness and exchange of bodily being, and interactive walks looking at organic growth in the city. Her work aims to draw attention to the commonality of being among humans, and between humans and the more-than-human world. She has presented work, performed and taught throughout the UK and internationally.