How Forests Think

On arrival, visitors are welcomed by two huge wooden pillars. By scanning the QR code, the walk to the installation in the forest from here is accompanied by an audio tour. How do trees communicate with each other and with other organisms? How does the forest perceive? In what way does the forest think?
After a few minutes walk, you will find the seats at twenty trees and can listen to five listening landscapes of vibrations (via sensors) of the soil live. Microscope videos can be seen on four pedestals, guided by soil expert Tanja Dekker you will learn about what is crawling under your feet. A little further on, you will find a large circle of logs balancing each other by being placed with the right tension. Take a seat and listen to the final part of the audio tour which reflects on the history of the (disturbed) relationship with the forest. The wood used in the installation was sourced from a local sawmill and processor Islandwoods borrowed for the occasion and returned afterward to become part of their circular production process again.

The Underground Intelligence of the Forest was the starting point for an in-depth program consisting of five workshops by Roberto Callisaya, Chihiro Geuzebroek, Remi Hougee, Pieter de Jong, Tanja Dekker, Martine Verweij and Arjan Berkhuysen around cyclical production processes, system constellations, the wood wide web, Indigenous land use, and sensory organization forms. Together with the audience, they explored what a new forest organization model, based on the underground intelligence of the forest, could look like so that a sustainable relationship between humans and the forest on Terschelling could be created.

The workshops served as input for translation into the organogram GROWTH; a proposal for a new organizational model based on the underground intelligence of the forest floor and how it is organized. Artist Wouter Engelbart translated the input from participants and workshop facilitators into a drawing. This pays special attention to the questions: which representatives are active in this system? The second question depicted concerns the dynamics and feedback loops in the relationship between the different representatives.

How Forests Think is the translation of the stage growth and part of the multi-year research project StagingWood in which Elmo Vermijs, with a growing coalition along the life cycle of forest -germination, growth, decay, and death- is looking for different attitudes between humans and forest.
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