First the Forests

Here examined the social construction of forest technology – its not simply that the world around us  is constructed – but our views of how it is constructed are largely out of sight – here in Cape Town controversies on the removal of artificial forests only a few decades old by the ‘retoratiostionistas’ pursuing their green gods of reintroducing the endangered  “sand plain fynbos” are constructing an equally artificial world to the one that is the site of battles by local residents who walk their dogs in the shade of exotic pines… what does it imply that the natural and the artificial are conflated in public eyes…. hybrids are proliferated everywhere ( see Bruno Latour – “We have never been modern)

The inaugural exhibition of the Young Curators Program at the CCA argues that forests are not the natural scenery that we think they are, but a highly processed, rational, productive and manicured environment. An architecture report from Montreal by Marcelo López-Dinard in Domus

Satellite image of the checkerboard forests in Montana, 2008. ©Terraserver

Suddenly, everything gets a different gloss. And by everything I mean whatever nature has surrounded me in the past couple of days. I have crossed the New York State’s Adirondack Park Preserve two times in less than a week, to visit the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) — researching the undisciplined Gordon Matta-Clark — in francophone Montréal. As you might be thinking, it must have been a beautiful and bucolic trip during the Fall season watching the multicolored trees and the landscape from the train, indeed, it was. But, the return trip to New York forced me to look through the window in a different way, although in a Park Preserve, I was curious searching for clues and signs among the trees. Are they aligned?, Are this pieces the result of nature’s own growth? Are they following a rational pattern? All these questions arose by one recent provocation, the inaugural exhibition of the Young Curators Program started by the CCA in 2011 that opened last 4 October with an introductory lecture by Dan Handel, the recipient of the program among 250 international proposals.

Entitled First, The Forests, the exhibition explores the ways in which we understand and perceive forests, introducing the concept of forestry as a design (not just science) tool and a form of knowledge about creating artificial forests. With some previous research on his back, the curator — with a Master degree in architecture from Harvard GSD and a PhD candidate at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology — proposes an invitation to question the “romantic and more traditional approach of the forest and nature”, as suggested by Mirko Zardini, Director and Chief

Large-scale model of a generic Swiss forest, designed by Heidi and Peter Wenger for the 1965 national Lausanne Expo. © Archives de la construction moderne – Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, fonds Heidi & Peter Wenger

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