Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Missing the Trees for the 'Forest'

A bit under a year ago, my beginning as a fledgling blogger had a start as a blog reader - and my two favorites were Geoff Manaugh's BLDGBLOG and Alexander Trevi's Pruned. It's been a long while since I've been able to glean anything of use from the intermittent BLDGBLOG (I blame Dwell :)... as well as the lately hit-or-miss Pruned - both of which have been significantly less active (or less relevant to me at least - in terms of L+U). So today, a double dose - good posts from both - which was good to see. The first from a BLDGBLOG post focuses on the announcement of an Montreal exhibition entitled 'Forest'.

:: image via Champ Libre

Where, you may ask, is the Forest in this particular forest? According to the website "Forest explores more than ever the meeting of art, architecture, public space, and technology by associating for the first time artists and architects in collaborative artworks, which occupy, question, and explore public space in all meteorological conditions, and at all times of the day and night."

Sounds good, and the very verdant advert made me expect some lushness to the displays. I was a bit non-plussed with the lack of green-ness - but do like the results nonetheless. Here's some more info, via the Champ Libre site:

FALLING FOREST = ROOT LOG, by artist Michael Saup aka Quantengeist (Germany) + CHABLIS, by architects Howard Davies, Randy Cohen and Anne Cormier of the Atelier Big City (Montreal)

"...incarnates a collision in the form of a monumental skewed elevation, occupying a simple sidewalk. This structure stages the fortuitous meeting of city and forest, embodying the moment at which contemporary society suddenly feels the need to preserve the forest and allow it to follow its fragile destiny, so that we do not contribute to its destruction. CHABLIS, a forest of wooden farms, aligns itself with ROOT LOG in an audio-visual amplification of the eternal traces left by humanity on nature. The natural phenomena of radioactivity and sound waves are amplified, with the Falling Forest illuminated night and day by a red light, the same one that made the forest – the Red Forest - adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear reactor vibrate."

:: images via Champ Libre

PNEUS = PNEUMAS, a collective composed of architect Patrick Harrop (Montreal, Manitoba), artist and architect Peter Hasdell (Australia, England, Manitoba, Hong Kong), and artist Sha Xin Wei (USA, Montreal) of the Topological Media Lab.

"...is a suspended forest made of a multitude of sensors and electronic generators surrounding translucent PVC tubes. The latter reproduce the fibers that lend trees their flexibility and regenerative capacity in a structure many meters high. This magic space of sound and light is the outcome of a progressive real-time recording and its transformation that condenses and expresses in one space - a structure and spatial occupation - an immediate experience of all the perceptible phenomena of movement in the context of the occupied neighborhood, including passersby, passing clouds, and the wind."

:: images via Champ Libre

MENISCUS = EFFRITEMENTS, by artist Patrick Beaulieu (Montreal), and REFLEXIVE MEMBRANE, by architect Philip Beesley (Ontario)

"...A raised three-dimensional flooring and a cover propelled at 300 rotations per minute form a vibrating dance of branches and twigs, constituting a human-sized space of the in-between from which humans are nevertheless excluded; a space of vertigo and hypnosis, of presence and disappearance, and of transparence, where together the ground and horizon blur the visitors’ perceptions, giving rise to feelings of danger."

:: images via Champ Libre

As Manaugh postulates... "...This slightly unclear image nonetheless leaves me wondering what the biological effects might be if you could cause a several-acre test-forest to vibrate constantly: what strange roots and branches would grow? Would constant vibration cause radically new tree structures to grow – or just make for some very happy plants?"

And check out Postscripts II - via Pruned, with Alan Berger's NY Times article, a shout out to the fantastic Namba Parks (seen here on L+U); and a great comment stream from a cross-posting on Agro-veillance post that echoed my own thoughts on 'eyes on the field' versus 'bits in the field'. Like most things, agriculture is also about people...

:: Agroveillance - image via Pruned

Good stuff and just like old times.

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