We spoke to Bones Tan Jones @yaya.bones, artist, musician and amateur herbalist. Through their art, they explore a narrative which combines digital technologies with the spiritual to create an alternative and optimistic reality which is hopeful and radical for queer communities.
We explored what nature has taught them, the reasons they connect with it through their moving meditations and the importance of being mindful of the spaces we take up.
Tell us a bit about you, the stories in your artwork and the connection to nature within your work.
I like to create mythologies around nature and our connection to it through fictional narratives that fuse utopian and dystopian ideologies and give a hopeful and radical reality for queer communities.
How do you play with the idea of connection and disconnection with nature?
I like to work with a kind of counteraction. I believe everything is a part of nature, both digital and organic. The concept that nature is other than the self, other than human, that nature is something outside of ourselves, is an entirely colonial construct. It's a construct that has been used to separate indigenous folks and people connected to nature from their natural habitat. We live in a society that has taught us and embedded this idea that we are all separate from nature.
Things, like digital and electronic materials, are attempts to try and mimic nature. For example, the root system of a tree is like the web of the internet, and these are the sorts of dualities I try to use in my work.
What does nature teach you?
Oh, there are many lessons that nature has taught me just through observing and listening. I love that a flower doesn’t bloom forever, and that’s okay as it has so many other uses apart from being beautiful. The flower might become a berry or be medicinal, and we can apply this to ourselves too.
There are so many different ways for us to be; it doesn’t need to be outwardly performative and beautiful to the outside world. It can just be for us within ourselves.
Why do you choose to practice your moving meditations in nature?
I have been practising Qigong for a few years now, and I love to do these moving meditations surrounded by trees and nature. The conscious, intentional movements make me feel like I’m becoming or returning to earth and becoming an energy pathway. So open and clear. It is another way to remember that we are a part of the wider ecosystem.
How does it feel to be in your body doing these practices?
When I move in this way, my anxiety melts away, and any tension disappears. It’s kind of like a realignment back to my centre. It connects me to my breath, it settles and eases the mind and helps clear my head so I can think clearly. It's so important for me to do this every day to move forward in a grounding way.
Words, photographs and video by Joya Berrow