Forest as Archive

Gerd Aurell

Abandoned airstrip for herbicide planes, lake Eggelats, Norrbotten. Credit: Lars Östlund.

Thinking about the forest as an archive, artist Gerd Aurell is investigating the relationship between people and the forest in northern Sweden. The project will examine the evidence of historical and contemporary arenas of conflict over the use of northern forests and how it can be interpreted and visualized artistically. Trees grow slowly and therefore living and dead trees can carry traces of events that happened hundreds of years ago. The old-growth northern forest can be read as an archive where layer is written on layer and traces in living and dead trees bear witness of unique events, both recent and far back in time. In deep collaboration with scientists in forest history and ecology, Aurell will investigate the places in the forest charged with human presence to produce performative drawing executed both on site in the forest and in traditional exhibition spaces.