Formafantasma: Seeing the Wood for the Trees
20.05. – 31.07.2022
Friday, 20 May 2022
Tue – Sun: 11:00 am – 6:00 pmSee opening hours Kunsthaus Hamburg
The exhibition Seeing the Wood for the Trees at Kunsthaus Hamburg encompasses three parts of Cambio, Formafantasma’s long-term investigation and multidisciplinary exhibition project that was originally commissioned by Serpentine Galleries, London. In the form of visual essays, they trace the development and regulation of the global timber industry that emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in colonized regions. The understanding of nature as a raw material and commodity, as well as the human relationship to nature, is reflected in historical, scientific, and documentary photographs and film footage. The green screen method serves the artists as a key design element, which corresponds visually to the complexity of the narration and sources of information.
The videos Cambio and Seeing the Wood for the Trees investigate how the timber industry has evolved over time and how its governance is structured today, touching upon the primary European and global regulations involved. The works ask how a networked understanding of materials can be applied to a more holistic approach to design and our relationship to the world, drawing connections between timber’s materiality and the abstract but pervasive conditions of exploitation, colonialism, and consumerism.
A video, Quercus, was created in collaboration with the philosopher and botanist Emanuele Coccia. Its narrative questions our sense of dominance, observing the degree to which humanity is dependent upon the form and physicality of trees from the perspective of an imagined forest. The visuals are provided by a laser scanner, used for cartography and archaeology and recently adopted by the timber industry to select trees for logging.
Curated by Katja Schroeder.