After moving to the Netherlands my fascination with forests took a different direction. Here a forest was something completely different. In the country witch’s approach on landscape utilisation has been glorified all over the world my opinions started to shift.
For many dutch people a forest can be as small as 25 square meters big piece of land covered with trees and most likely few benches in-between them. People tend to fear walking into a forest aside the designed pathways and they assume there has been someone taking care of the old brunches of the trees so nothing can unexpectedly fall on their heads.
Most of dutch landscape is clearly and functionally divided. The landscape is under a lot of pressure and so as forest and trees.
Environment is changing.
In what ways should we construct our future interactions with the environment around us?
Could redefinition become a tool of ecological grief?
I seem to need some help with it.
Forest5x5 is an embodiment experience that aims to redefine and question the understanding of a forest as an entity.
We are facing an undeniable climate crisis. Our perception of nature has become a crafted and segmented area of governance.
There are more than 800 commonly used definitions of a forest.
“A forest can be considered a forest if it reaches a threshold of 0.5 hectares with trees higher that 5 meters and canopy cover of more than 10 percent. Witch initially makes a 25 cubic-meters of tree covered space a forest.”
“An area completely lacking trees may still be considered a forest if it ever grew trees in the past, will grow trees in the future or was legally designed as a forest regardless of the vegetation type.”
(Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Forestry Department)
Between unreadable graphs, shocking images and judgemental activism, information about the environmental crisis has alienated it’s intended audience. Forest 5x5 explores alternative ways of recognising and empathising with the challenges of todays environment. Creating an representation of nature through an act of embodiment.
We can not escape our human bodies but we might be able to expand the capabilities of the mind by facilitating bodily sensations and gaining physical empathy towards a forest. Shifting the Ego towards the Eco and bridging the gaps between humans and non-humans.
The aim of this experience is to facilitate the understanding between this complex entity and the participants by looking for their similarities instead of differences.
When becoming a part of the installation, you must take your time, adjust, one step at a time. Soon enough there is a bodily understanding that the installation moves only as much and as rapidly as your own body. After a while, movement becomes almost undetectable. It is just a part of existence. The installation becomes an extension of your body. You become 4 m long and 1 meter of you is in the soil. Suddenly, your body fully relies on the soil underneath you.