Rewilding a Digital Forest
The project is a product of a continuing exploration of the digital modes of representation of nature - and its potential to communicate environmental change.
Inspired by on-going research into the Bialowieza Forest in Poland, this project seeks to explore real issues and at the same time provoke the viewer (often through exaggeration and absurdity) into re-evaluating how nature is documented in the digital.
In a series of images and sequences I will be exploring the conditions of digital representations of nature, confronting different conventions, writings and case-studies.
This phase of research and experimentation will result in production of an interactive framework provoking the idea of a Forest as a sensor of wider socio-political issues, with the Bialowieza Forest as a key reference.
How can we represent the Forest as a sensor and evidence of wider socio-political phenomena?
In 2016-2017 Puszcza Białowieska in Eastern Poland (deemed Europe's most 'ancient forest') underwent a major process of ruination caused by the activity of the Bark Beetle. The ruination, although undesired, is a self-regulatory process that results from dry conditions tied to climate change. The aftermath of this ruination exposed ruptures in Polish politics and exposed motivations of various agents - from activists to politicians.
The logging in the forest in the recent years has been justified by the National Forestry by replanting the forest - placing seedlings in a sanitised patch of land farm-like grid. The form of the grid becomes synonymous with the anthropocentric view of the forest - one that needs human curation to thrive, which assumes the dominance of human vision over forest's self-governing abilities.
The straight, regular form of the tree is perceived as 'healthy' by the forestry. The contamination of the forest by dead matter and irregular forms has been described as forest's 'failure' and call for need for more human interference. Above is a poster by an organisation SANTA claiming that a forest without interference by foresters would desintegrate.
Does the digital representation have the potential to subvert the anthropocentric view of the natural world?
Invasive Plant Typology
In the Polish Bialowieza Forest the state inisist on removal of dead timber.
This creates a perfect opportunity for the spread of invasive weeds such as the Canadian Goldenrod.
While dead timber is a source of nourishment for the new generations of insects, plants and mushrooms, the insistence on its removal
signals suspicious motivations of the state, such as economic profit.
Another reson for the insistence of removal of the Dead Timber is the local beliefs (more on that in the future posts).
The typology of the digital Invasive Plant is therefore directly linked to the extractivist strategies of the State Forestry.
The anthropocentric model of forestry - assumes the necessity to involve human activity in a well-functioning forest.
The bark-beetle induced ruination in the forest is perceived as excuse for escalation of National Foresters' activities - increased logging and removal of timber.
However, ruination is common and a strategy for self-preservation in the forest, following recent dry summers (a result of climate change).
New trees grow, in place of old and smaller plants such as raspberries tend to protect the brittle seedlings from wildlife.
The typology of the digital Protective Plant is therefore directly linked to the forest's self-governing abilities.
I am a 3D designer and researcher interested in critical approaches to digital representation, especially the techno-visual biases perpetuated by the digital media.
I work as a spatial investigator and have formely spent a couple of years working with Forensic Architecture. I am passionate about finding new ways for interrogation and representation of environmental data.