Natural Ideas for the Human Mind I
The series of photographs, Natural Ideas for the Human Mind, is the result of a prolonged engagement with signs of collapse in Epping Forest, mostly with fallen or felled trees. It develops an idea of tree actions, which are imaginary ecological responses to the forest in crisis. These actions continue a tradition of Epping Forest as a worked landscape, shaped by human activity.
There are constant ‘tree events’ in a forest. Trees die, fall or are cut down, leaving evidence of their destruction. These events, usually without significance, are the starting point for my work. The photographs record my interventions, which operate simultaneously as disruptions and restorations. The gestures are ultimately futile.
In trying to restore or care for trees, I’m working with and against an idea of forest as seen in images, rather than from scientific knowledge.
This work helps materialise a sense of attachment I have to the forest. The labour of care brings a proximity that helps overcome the distance I experience in the fixed view of photography. I view these works – made over two years, and hundreds of miles walked in the forest – as collaborations. I’m interested in how the resulting images work as performances rather than representations.
Epping Forest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, divided into 41 units. These actions have all been made in units that are currently classified as unfavourable, and in need of improvement.
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