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inside an inside forest

Materials and media

audiovisual installation with wood, tree bark, fungi and a hunting seat. 2-channel video, 4-channel sound composition

Year

2021

#alive #dark #growing #hypnotic #immersive #smelly #trans-species

All the trees in sight had been hacked away, no longer able to support dreams of hope, dreams of freedom, dreams that take you away from this place. But the forest had long ago learned to shut them out. Now, everything was quiet. Nothing moved. Nothing lived. All was still and cold and dark.

— GPT-2, January 2021

inside an inside forest is an audiovisual and spatial installation focusing on the unseen|unheard entanglements within the forest, the connection between trees and fungi but also the (destructive) traces that humans leave on it.

As in a scientific dissection, elements of a forest have been transferred to the inside of Errant Sound and reconfigured to a new sensory hybrid ecosystem, an experimental techno-organic collage, discussing what it means to be human or not in a world where nature, culture and the digital continue to be more and more intertwined, inseparable even.

The spatial installation consists of a room covered in tree barks that the artist collected and removed from trees in forests around Berlin, they bring their own microcosm of mycelia, lichen, bacteria and insects along. Inside are two monitors displaying videos of makro views of felt trees. The imagery stems from animated and algorithmically morphed photo stills inspired by the idea of physical movement of fluids inside trees. The hypnotic and calm atmosphere stands in contrast to what they depict in original: chainsaw patterns on cut trees, which is rather an imprint of violence.

Additionally, speaker chassis are placed between the tree barks that have been transformed into DIY bioreactors for growing fungi in submerged culture. This experimental setup stems from the artist’s many-year research into material properties of fungi. Here, sinus waves act as a physical stimulation to keep the liquid media in motion, oxygened and growing. The fungi in the speakers is a Reishi culture known as ‘mushroom of eternity’ in TCM. The frequencies also create a geometric pattern on the surface of the liquid knows as cymatic effect. The composition is a 4-channel audio arrangement that takes into account acoustic properties of the gallery and the somatic reception of interferences of sinus waves.

The largest element in the installation is an original hunting seat from the district forester’s office near Berlin. It allows for a shift of viewpoint, literally standing for the position humans feel to have over the rest of the flora/fauna world. The visitor is invited to climb on it, sit as an elevated observer of the room and other visitors, as a hunter does when waiting for animals to shoot. Via headphones, one can listen to an audio piece connecting to the organic materials on the floor.

Between observation, meditation, material experimentation and playful action, inside an inside forest challenges common anthropocentric views towards a zoë-egalitarian awareness.

Thanks

Errant Sound (Janine Eisenacher, Steffi Weissmann)
Revierförsterei Lanke (Klaus Meier, Carsten Hoffmann)
TOP Lab e.V. (Alessandro Volpato)
Margherita Pevere, Kristen Rästas