Pehuen Forest residency

Field work carried out in Bosque Pehuén, a conservation reserve that belongs to the Mar Adentro Foundation.

In January 2022, we spent two weeks with our families and the artist Sebastián Calfuqueo working in the recovered forests of the Mar Adentro Foundation. During the residency, we carried out different actions that aimed to make visible the relationships between the species and the temporalities that co-exist there.

We arrived at the Pehuén Forest with a longing to be affected by those infinite relationships that underpin notions of landscape. We wanted to inhabit and understand the forest beyond the mediated gaze of the camera. We wanted to smell, touch, get dirty… turn into a forest. Feel and think through the experience of being IN that territory.

We devised different strategies that would allow us to be in the forest and think of it not as taxonomies of species and experiences, but as connecting relationships. In this process, and following some ideas put forward by Tomás Ibarra (2020), we set out to go, touch and link the elements that contained the memory, encountering the stumps along the way. These are tree trunks that were cut down, burned, or simply fallen, which speak of a time in the past when this place was a productive field of native timber extraction. They also remind us of and make visible a much longer and imperceptible history. Understanding these remnants of trees as reservoirs of memory and new life, places where ecosystems reproduce again and where new trees are born and take up residence, means that the boundaries between the living and the inert are blurred. The interdependence of organisms and the becoming of a deep time are expressed very clearly.

We created a series of stoneware ceramic pieces in which the textures of the stumps are imprinted by contact between the trunk and the paste. The shapes engraved in ceramics were rapidly emerging with the same vitality as the rest of the forest. At the same time, we plotted a grid of points of our routes through the forest by recording our geolocation during the processes of marking the stumps. Thus, we recorded the dead/living trees in photography, video, geolocation and stoneware.

The experience in Bosque Pehuén allowed us to open up a new dimension of what we had been investigating in Bosque de Fuego, as we found within the forest, another forest formed by the remains of trees that in turn build an internal network in the ecosystem. We discovered a forest within the forest and that was a find we were not looking for.