POSSIBLE FORESTS (MAP 6)
Haldon Forest Park, Devon (UK)
Wrights & Sites is a group of four artist-researchers with a special relationship to site, city/landscape and walking. Practice-as-research project, Possible Forests, transferred a decade of Wrights & Sites' practices of urban exploration, surrealistic derambulation, mis-guidance and spatial planning from the city to the trees.
Working in partnership with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (in Haldon Forest Park, 3,500 acres of woodland which the UK's Forestry Commission is in the process of replanning), the project included a number of interlinked elements:
• a public drift, exploring the forest's formal trails, overgrown tracks and desire paths;
• a split-screen video of a simultaneous walk by the members of Wrights & Sites;
• an interractive exhibition of maps, texts and video at CCANW's forest exhibition space;
• a symposium and practical workshop, bringing together Wrights & Sites, forestry experts and the public;
• DVD-ROM documentation of the constituent elements.
In addition, partner specialists from eight different fields (sculpture, scenography, organisational study, psychotheraphy, architecture, geography, choreography and Second Life) were invited to walk and talk with members of Wrights & Sites in the forest. These walking dialogues were documented - they captured potential ways of experiencing, re-imagining and planning the forest landscape. After each reconnaissance walk, a new map of Haldon Forest was generated. These eight sketches for 'possible forests' formed the core of the project. Not all of the ideas were realisable, but it was hoped that they might start to provoke further ideas, further questions and further walks, towards other possible forests.
The sixth walk was undertaken by Stephen Hodge (Wrights & Sites and 2ND LIVE) and a number of avatars in Second Life forest landscapes. There were two figures whose SL-RL thinking particularly inspired the sixth map:
• Cecil C. Konijnendijk, the woodSCAPE consultant who dares to imagine the meeting of the city and the forest, the real and the virtual in his vision of Forestry version 2.0;
• Keystone Bouchard, the avatar-architect whose Reflexive Architecture and communal architectural practices are easily transferable to the trees.
» Forestry version 2.0 - Embracing the Urban Age (Cecil C. Konijnendijk)
» The Arch (Keystone Bouchard)