The Sound of the Falling Tree

What is the place of the eucalyptus tree in the experience of the landscape in Chile? In this exhibition, we investigate eucalyptus as a landscape phenomenon that allows us to reflect on the nature/technology border.

What place does the eucalyptus occupy today in the experience of the landscape in Chile?

Between regions IV and X there are more than one million hectares of eucalyptus plantations (INFOR 2018). They form a biological mass that could hardly be described as natural, but rather as the result of an industrial, technified process that is a mechanism for maximising private profits.

The ‘eucalyptus as a landscape’ phenomenon allows us to reflect on the nature/technology boundary, distinguishing the natural effects of the species from those resulting from the productive operations applied to the eucalyptus.

In this exhibition, we propose to re-experience the eucalyptus made invisible by the plantation. This is at the crossing with memory, daily affections and as an individual tree that expresses its identity and particularities.

The collective worked on the basis of four types of registers. The first is a video portraying the eucalyptus monocultures of Chaihuin Island as a new technified landscape, which transforms the roadside plantations into a cinematic backdrop. The movement of the video ensures the gaze is projected onto these plantations.

The second strategy is the resignification of a collection of postcards of Chile in which eucalyptus appears, from the photographic archive of the National Library. These are historical records that once built our country’s image. In postcards of Plaza Sotomayor in Valparaíso, Cerro Santa Lucía, and views of the cities of Talcahuano and Puerto Montt, among many others, the eucalyptus has been an unnoticed part of the Chilean landscape since the beginning of the century.

A third strategy was created from a field trip with local artists, who, at the invitation of the collective, made their visual observations of monocultures on paper.

Finally, a young eucalyptus tree (uprooted from the roadside) can be seen hanging in the middle of the room.

The exhibition operates as a site-specific installation in which the different registers make up the work.

The fieldwork was carried out in territories near Valdivia and Chaihuín with the support of the artistic creation fund of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

The following people collaborated in this sample:

Gaspar Sepúlveda
Tomás Molina
Valentina Inostroza
César Scotti
Javiera Muñoz
Joaquín Cociña
Gabriela Urrutia