Shifting Baseline
25 juni 2017

Shifting Baseline (excerpt)
Video, 41:45 min

In The Netherlands forests are too unnatural to grow naturally. The Dutch have created forests but are unable to create a natural balance like Mother Nature can. Thus, forest management must intervene to keep these artificial forests alive. However, the line between taking care and taking advantage of forests is often out of balance. Luckily for forest management most forest visitors don’t recollect what disappears from a forest over time. They forget what changed in their surroundings and accept the new, impoverished nature as reality. A forest visitor will define what is natural and normal to current, not the historical conditions of a forest. This is called Shifting Baseline.

In this video work a tree’s destruction is reversed. Instead of watching a machine destroy a tree, the tree is built back to life branch by branch. The video places itself within the balance between caring and destruction nature; between current and historical conditions. It’s comforting to watch a tree build back to life but leaves us feeling conflicted because we are aware the tree is being destroyed in reality. It confronts us with the power of man to artificially create nature.

Film still 10:02 min

Film still 41:39 min