Wald-en is a forest, designed to help you question your place in the world from the perspective of your gender through a meditative enclave that offers seemingly endless variations on the theme. Like many of my works before, the title is a play with words. Wald is German for forest, en is in. Walden is the place often considered by Americans as idyllic due to the writings of transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau about his own self-reflection during his time there.
Recently people in my very close sphere came out as Transgender. As a result, I’ve been questioning what does it mean to be female, the gender I’ve always just taken as the assumed one. In the Trans world we talk about “assigned gender at birth” as a way to separate what one was declared early on based on genitals to what one knows in the heart and brain. I’ve had to reconsider so much; how does one even know what makes anyone their gendered entity? And that reconsidering has led me to wonder how gender functions from a much deeper perspective. If Simon Schama (author of the profound Landscape and Memory, 1995) is right, in his quote that “"...landscape is the work of the mind. Its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock", then it is much like gender…a construct made up of cultural experiences that can and should be individualized by each of us. What else in our lives has been assumed, but may be utterly incorrect? Who amongst us have the strength of conviction to change?
You are enthusiastically invited to recline on the pillows and spend time being in the multitude of different gender representations in the swirling “trees” of this gender forest. Perhaps you will ponder who and what your place is in the universe. Or, perhaps you will simply breath deeply while being psychically embraced.