L’arbre qui cache la forêt – Paris (France)

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  • Study day

L’arbre qui cache la forêt – Paris (France)

The tree that hides the forest

The Asie-Sorbonne Association organizes a two-days’ conference with the aim of reflecting on the dynamics of the relationship with trees—and beyond, with nature—in East and South Asia by comparison with the West. We postulate that this relationship, be it in art, in religious pratices or in agroforestry or even in leisure practices (such as “forest baths or shirin-yoku*), is part of a paradigmatic relationship with nature that is determined by an imaginary of the tree, memories associated with the landscape, and cultural practices. The Chinese concept of qi (in Japan ki), i.e. the vital energy shared between man and nature, as well as the specific perception of trees in Chinese and Japanese philosophy, can be called upon to support this implicit cultural dimension.
The forest as a place of enlightenment is also essential for Buddhists and Jains, and the representation of Yaksha and Yakshini testifies to the role of the tree as a source of life, sometimes ambivalent, in the Indian tradition, where certain tree species are still considered sacred today. Such representations existed in the West before the Industrial revolution, and then in reaction to it, e.g., in the Gothic, and in European Romanticism or in American Transcendentalism. The workshop addresses a double question: How do cultural, artistic, religious, classical or popular, traditional or contemporary practices, as well philosophical/aesthetic theories bear witness to a certain view of the forest; and how do they potentially pre-condition the actual experience of forest immersion? The question will be approached in the context of East and South Asia, or, by comparison, in the West. An immersive experience in a forest will be organized on the 21st of November.

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