“The forest would know if you believed it was alive. You would sort of detect something in the trail, maybe you would hear a rustling of leaves, and a deer would show you the way a little bit…they may send ambassadors to people who they knew would protect their society, and not ruin it for humans’ own benefit.”

By Megan Dulcie Dill and Claudia Medina

The child’s voice speaking these words blends with forest soundscapes, projected video imagery, and paintings to create an immersive experience of a future forest ecology, according to the imagination of children ranging in age from five to twelve.

Future Forests is a multi media installation and evolving collaboration between artists Megan Dulcie Dill and Claudia Medina that originated with a single question posed to children – “What is a future forest fairytale?”

Thus began a multi year project that has led these artists to follow the themes and layers that came from this question and translate them into an experience that gives people a chance to get a very unique perspective of the forests that surround us.

With the help of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the British Columbia Arts Council, the artists are working on a new iteration of the project that has so far been shown at two local events. Audio interviews with children have guided the process and as more interviews are collected, imagery and sound will shape around their stories and reflect on the elements of interconnection in a forest. The stories tell tales of complex ecosystems, full of animate beings and societies, that communicate and create together, from the tiniest organism to the largest tree.

In these stories, forest elements are embodied with a magical quality that only the most observant, and the most respectful humans are allowed access to. The project touches on the ancient stories of nature spirits, the enchanted forests of fairy tales, and also the newest scientific research that is starting to understand that a forest is indeed a complex web of communicating entities. The child’s perspective is key to Future Forests, and the artists believe that their stories hold much wisdom and awareness that adults can learn from.

Presently, they are crafting a version of the installation that will weave more stories and images that are also collected as part of art workshops supported through the Powell River United Way, Malaspina Art Society and The Art Centre. They aim to show the latest version in Powell River in November, and then take it on the road to multimedia festivals and galleries around North America.

photos of projections on art courtesy Paul Galinski infinitymultimedia.ca

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