(frequencies of the forest)
Tele.(gram) reflects on the wild and industrial landscape of the Basque Country, observing the ubiquity of human effect on the landscape and exploring the invisible language of electromagnetic waves in the natural world. Something particularly special in the basque country is the three tier foliage of the forest which used to exist across Europe but has mostly been cleared. This is a place to understand the frequencies and disturbances of vegetable, animal and mineral activity that creep into the margins, the gaps, and the periphery of a terrain which defies domestication.
The main symbol of the show is a raven, slightly oversized with a direct forward facing gaze. The raven symbolizes intelligence, magic and mystery within many cultures but they also have the quality of the mischievous trickster. The sculpture reads as a hieroglyph, referring to pictorial languages but also to pagan practises. Before the alphabet we spoke to an animated world; there is more to read than just the words of humans. An ancient way of being is slowly being heard again around the world through voices of environmentalists and indigenous peoples.
The show is made from a mixture of manmade and organic materials. Earth vases resemble a trunk of a tree or the upended tree roots, a cauldron or vessel whilst antennae intermingle with the weeds. It raises the question of whether communication is occurring between them, even though they may be beyond our limited means of capturing or reading it clearly. I am fascinated by how the digital world translates code into something readable and how data is packaged and sent in invisible forms.
In a rewilding of the imagination, I examine the landscape as a vibrant meeting and exchanging of matter, a place to resensitise ourselves to the lost languages of vibrations and photoelectrons, to converse across barriers, to diversify our aesthetic and create suggestive spaces of not knowing. I question what we see and believe through the limited perspective of the human sensory spectrum and build a narrative where trees, plants and fungi are seen as persons, teachers, guardians and kin.
The publication is an extension of the show. Essays cite the exhibition in Bilbao, a description of Eretza demonstrates the cold tone of technology in contrast to the magic of lived experience, a reminder of how much we can learn just by being outside. The image essays begin with photos of plants by the river using only light reflected from the water to distort and blur. It evolves into a search for textures within the surface materials of the landscape. The publication is designed with Stewart Hardie from Folium Publishing and includes short fragments by writer Fiona Glen.
This exhibition was supported by Foundation BilbaoArte.
Order a publication here.