ForestCurrent, Research and Development
Forest is a durational artwork about how we can imagine and build a symbiotic future with the natural world.
The project begins by asking how many trees does it take to make a forest?
With thousands of definitions of Forest spoken around the world this question is essential in a global and local understanding of tree populations and the value(s) they represent. Forest is being imagined with a growing network of collaborators from different fields and countries asking each person to share what a forest means for them.
This new forest, built for Leeds, will permanently repopulate one or more urban spaces with trees engaging local people in the development, planting, maintenance and legacy of a work that is designed to span generations.
Forest will be a long form exploration of how ecological thinking, conservation and nature recovery practices can affect and be driven by an art practice and whether new models of thinking about site, resources, mental health and space can emerge. It will include a number of long term experiments that monitor carbon and visualise the changes built by the forest itself; allowing us to articulate how the landscape changes as the forest grows.
What makes a forest? The first in a series of workshops looked at exploring understandings of forest ecologies and to build conversations around forests as physical spaces, through sharings and conversations on processes of engagement with these landscapes.
The event was curated in collaboration with Bangkok based new media artist Jennifer Katanyoutant.
The workshop was led by presentations from four inspiring people; Siwakorn Odachao, a farmer of the Ban Nong Tao Pgak’yau (Karen) community in Northern Thailand. Matt Taylor, a UK based practitioner and consultant in sustainable land management. Toh Hui Ran, manager of Uthai Forest, growing a forest on 20 hectares of barren, former paddy fields in Uthai Thani, Thailand and Ned Prideaux, a member of Leeds Coppice Workers Cooperative who are committed to restoring and managing neglected and underused woodlands in the Leeds area.
Forest is supported by a research and development grant from Leeds 2023.
Collaborators include Jennifer Katanyoutant, Siwakorn Odachao; Ban Nong Tao Pgak’yau (Karen) community, Ned Prideaux; Leeds Coppice Workers Cooperative, Matt Taylor; Forest and Land, Hui Ran Toh; Uthai Forest.