Private Project

From the dried-out fir leaked honey

This video art work draws inspiration from a select few passages of the Finnish epic poem, The Kalevala, describing generative and entropic forces of the forest as well as from my experience of the environment through many hours of hiking and working in the diverse ecology of Koli National Park, Finland. The poetry has been rearranged in a subversion of the original text, drawing many lines from Canto 29 (The Island of Women) to form a new narrative: descriptions of the idyllic forest environment are overlaid with images of the felling of the forest and its demise, eventually transformed once again and renewed. The contemplative and solitary performances for the camera embedded in birch, pine and spruce forests explore an anthropomorphized forest - at once visceral, mythic and surreal. While the video imagery has been manipulated through masking and opacity changes, the glacially slow-moving performances are presented in real-time. This project has been exhibited as single-channel screenings, a synchronized three-channel video installation in a museum setting and in live performances in which the video is projected into a sculptural performance space constructed of silk scrims and small trees.
In English & Finnish.

  • Cherie Sampson
  • Cherie Sampson
  • Cherie Sampson
    Key Cast
  • Rearranged passages from The Kalevala, Eino Friberg Translation
  • Cherie Sampson
    Spoken Text
  • Merja Soria
    Spoken Text
  • Alex Kahlil, Overtone chanting
  • Merja Soria, Vocalist (in Finnish)
  • CIES Fulbright Scholar Program, USA
    Financial (and other support)
  • Fulbright Center - Finland
    Financial (and other support)
  • Finnish Cultural Foundation (North Karelia Regional Fund)
    Financial (and other support)
  • Liisa & Jukka Tommila & the village of Koli, Finland
    Financial (and other support)
  • Finnish Forest Service (Metsähallitus)
    Financial (and other support)
  • Cherie sampson
  • Stephan Herbers
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Mettä vuoti kuivat kuuset
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Performance Art, Video Art, Cultural, Video Poetry, Environmental & Landscape
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 14, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    9,600 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Finnish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Luontokeskus Ukko Gallery
    Koli National Park, Finland
    June 29, 2014
  • Pori Art Museum (MediaPoint Gallery)
    Pori, Finland
    November 29, 2013
Director Biography - Cherie Sampson

Cherie Sampson has worked for 25 years as an interdisciplinary artist in environmental performance, sculpture and video art. She has exhibited internationally in live performances, art-in-nature symposia, video/film screenings and installations in the US, Finland, Norway, Holland, Cuba, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong and other countries. Recent solo exhibitions/performances include “Purificación” - a weeklong performance series at Tufiarte, Gran Canaria, Spain and the video installation, Puut Punalle Maat Sinelle (Red the Trees & Green the Land) at the Pori Art Museum in Pori, Finland. Cherie is the recipient of a number of fellowships & grants including two Fulbright Fellowships, a Finnish Cultural Foundation Grant, three Finlandia Foundation Grants and multiple internal research grants for artistic projects from the University of Missouri. Cherie divides her time between the University of Missouri where she is an Associate Professor of Art and her organic farm in Northeast Missouri where she initiates and creates many of her art works in the wooded and cultivated environments. She received her Master of Fine Art Degree in Intermedia & Video Art from the University of Iowa, 1997 with a minor in Sculpture.

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Director Statement

Many years ago in the arctic regions of Scandinavia I initiated the making of vide-performances in which I inserted my body into remote boreal landscapes of moss, peat, tundra, forest and ice and snow. These performances, in I call ‘found’ landscapes, embody temporality and cyclical change in nature – its evolution often not perceptible at the moment in its infinitely gradual process, but as an after-image. An abstracted body may appear at once human, animal and vegetative with the imagery reflecting and mimicking patterns in the environment and contemplating the stirring and stilling of time.

Informed by a visual arts background the camera is turned on myself, not so much in self-reflexive portraiture, but rather in allusion to an archetypal body that is an integral part of nature. My solitary performance work in the environment as well as performances for live audiences and gallery video-installations are often inspired by classicism and ties to cultural tradition – west and east, as widely varied as the ancient poetic traditions of Karelian Finland and classical dance forms of India.

Changes in technology have inevitably impacted the creation and presentation of the video works over time. More recent works have utilized masking and mirroring in post-production as means to explore the play of singularity and multiplicity, yet representation of the integrity of the performances in-situ remain at the core of my video art. Many of the images in the videos lie in a liminal place between the still and moving image, a vision of becoming and evanescence that requires quieting the mind enough to see the subtlety of a gray arctic sky turning blue-gray, a semi-transparent spider descending lightly through the frame or the gradual torque of the body on a bed of moss…