How to be a plant

Shin Hanagata

Before considering how to become a tree, humans may already be trees. They breathe, sense light, and have arms and legs that can move. We have body fluids, tubes that transport nutrients and water, skin where fungi and insects come and create an ecosystem.

But let's get closer to trees.

The Banyan is called the walking tree. It puts its roots down from its branches towards the ground and takes decades to take one step. Try walking slowly like that. Gradually slow down the sense of time.

1: First, walk for about 5 minutes on good soil and take about 3 meters. You can feel the structure of every muscle, bone, and tendon in your body moving. You realize that there is infinite resolution in space. Get closer to trees little by little. Walk for 10 minutes, 1 hour.

a: About grafting. Trees can heal by connecting their branches with their own cross-sections. But it is impossible to heal by connecting the cross-section of a tree and the body of a human. However, try attaching your body to a tree. You will notice the hardness of the tree, how it receives the wind, the sound, smell, and rhythm. Exist accordingly. The branches become hands, the body becomes the trunk, and the tree and the body mix.

2: Slow down further. Take water and walk 3m on the soil taking a day or a week. It is dangerous to fast for more than a week, so you need to get energy by eating soil (there is edible soil called peat).

b: About skin. The tree's skin is very dry. It cracks like atopic dermatitis. To remove the moisture, wash off the surface oil. Apply strong soap or bleach and leave it.

3: It becomes difficult to stand for a long time with human muscles, so you can ask the keepers to put up support poles. If you run out of water and soil you brought, take them from the keepers and walk 3m over the course of 1 month, 6 months, or a year. The movements of the people around you gradually appear faster than you can sense. You lose your words.

c: About seeds. If you can produce sperm, have the keepers collect it and inject it into another tree with an egg. Or if you have an egg, have the keepers collect sperm from another tree and inject it.

4: Slow down even further. Walk 3m on the soil taking 10 years, 30 years, or 50 years. The keepers also change generations, and the city changes. Friends forget about you. Even the police cannot distinguish whether you are a human or not. But you don't care. There are many trees around, and the day flickers like a strobe light.

d: About photosynthesis. In recent studies, technology has been developed to produce starch from light and carbon dioxide. Furthermore, they reproduce themselves. Cloning has already been successful in monkeys by generating artificial stem cells. All that remains is to wait for the realization of issues such as "human dignity". They are expected to be put into practical use in about one more step of time. Wait a little longer.

5: Eventually, it withers away.







a. 關於嫁接。樹木能夠透過斷面連結樹枝癒合傷口。儘管樹的斷面和人的身體無法癒合,但請試著把自己的身體嫁接於樹。如此一來,樹木的硬度、承風方式、聲音、味道、節奏,都會進入自己的身體。請試著這樣生存——讓樹枝成為手臂,身體成為樹幹,樹與身體合為一體。

2. 再試著放慢一點。帶著水,花上一天、一週在土上行走三公尺。人類節食一週以上是會有危險的,所以你會需要食用土壤來獲取營養(泥炭是可以食用的土壤)。

b. 關於皮膚。樹的皮膚非常乾燥,猶如異味性皮膚炎般龜裂。為了除去皮膚的水分,請把表面的油質洗去,可以使用強鹼肥皂或是漂白水處置。

3. 人類的肌肉難以長時間如此站立,因此可以請KEEPER來提供支撐。當身上的水分、土壤都漸漸流失,便必須從KEEPER獲得養分。請再花費一個月、半年、一年,行走三公尺。漸漸地,你將無法感知周遭人類快速的動作,漸漸失語。

c. 關於種子。若你能夠製造精子,請讓KEEPER取走精子,與卵子結合後注入其他樹木中。若你能夠製造卵子,讓KEEPER注入從其他樹木中獲取的精子。

4. 再試著走得更慢一點。花10年、30年、50年,在土上僅行走三公尺。KEEPER已世代交替,街道也已物換星移。朋友已忘卻你的故事,警察再也無法分辨你是否為人類,但你不在意,周遭有很多樹與你同在,所謂「一天」,將如閃光燈般一瞬而逝。


5. 最終枯萎。

Translated by Johan Chang
Photo by Jojo KAO