Of Forests and Trees

This work focuses on a few small forest locations within the Žumberak mountain range in Croatia, following their changes through one year. The locations are places where something akin to deforestation has happened - but not entirely so. The mountain forests have a complicated ownership status, with some parts belonging to the state, some parts under border dispute with Slovenia, and some parts belonging to families living in nearby villages - many of whom have emigrated to the cities or out of the state entirely. The forest is composed mostly of oak and beech, quality woods sought after in the wood industry. For many of the remaining village residents, who are often old, the selling of this wood from their patch of forest is one of the main income stream. They are also not able to maintain the forests physically themselves anymore, and the issue of maintenance hasn't been solved appropriately by the state. What results from this are sudden clearings or holes in the forest coverage, invisible until you stumble into them, where trees have been removed quickly from a relatively small patch of land owned by specific persons. A liminal, uncanny, micro-situation that cumulatively, in larger timescales than just one human life, might have adverse affects on the forest ecosystem that, among other, houses old-growth and many endangered or globally sensitive species.

The work is focused on thinking nature in its own timescale, not only in the anthropocentric time that ties our society together, by considering mourning and celebration rituals as possible ways of reimagining nature entities. The work consists of hand sanded fragments of wood found on the tree stumps in mentioned locations, embroidery, prints of tree rings from the stumps, and documentation of one clearing through several months in mediums of photography, text, drawing and audio field recording.

⭕ Kamba pop-up gallery, Zagreb, 2021                                                                   

photo documentation:
Šimun Bućan