The Geopolitics of the Forest working group meets regularly to share their research on the geopolitics of the forest across art, architecture, political science and landscape ecology. The group are exploring how to develop holistic and interdisciplinary understandings of the human / forest relationship that can represent multiple, overlapping and conflicting interests. They aim to develop a shared critical space for new collaborative artistic research projects which deal with the ethical complexities of forestry in relation to the climate crisis, to reconsider the language and aesthetics of sustainability.

The meetings investigate multidisciplinary approaches to the human and nonhuman entanglements of the forest in Northern Sweden. Research questions investigate the ethical aesthetics of different kinds of woodlands and their material and geopolitical networks.

The Geopolitics of the Forest Working Group is chaired by Luis Berrios-Negron, UmArts Research Fellow in Art and Architecture. Members include: Gerd Aurell, artist; James B. Brown, architect; Sofia Johansson, curator; Toms Kokins, architect; Lars Östlund, forest historian; Edith Marie Pasquier, artist; Janina Priebe, political science; Moa Sandström, Sámi studies; Per Sandström, landscape ecologist, and many others who come to share their research, practices and ideas.

Enargeia (or bright unbearable reality) was the phrase that the ancients used to describe the aura of the classical work of war – the Iliad. It refers to the Iliad’s vocative power, to when the gods came down to earth from heaven, as they were, in their truest expression in beauty or in terror. The research and artistic project explore how humans and other living beings are affected and interconnected in the experience of sudden grief and is situated within the existing discourses of grief, politics and multi-species thinking within the contemporary arts. It unravels the known and existing discourse / histories of image making to excavate and propose alternative frames rooted in the poetics and politics of the present condition.

Working with the tools of chemical analogue photography and the notion of the ‘live’ encounter in contemporary art practice, the work uses early cinematic techniques, photographic process, sculptural assemblages, and sonic propositions to propose ‘live’ encounters that are activated by others both individually and collectively. The project questions the presence of the dead in the life of the living and open how grief resides within, around and through images.