Rainforest Machine Prototype 02
Rainforest Machine Prototype touches on global as well as personal themes. The idea for this work was born during a visit to the Victoria Falls in 2019. The walkway along the small rainforest at the falls’ edge became the site of a deeply immersive and transformative experience. I have spent the previous month outside an ICU ward, supporting a dear friend who was losing her husband to cancer. The contrast between the stark interior of the hospital and this vibrant forest, fed by the life-sustaining spray from the falls, intensified my experience. I was mesmerized by the play of sunlight through the leaves, the cool mist on my sun-warmed skin, and the overwhelming smells and sounds of this place that could potentially heal the soul. I had a strong desire to capture my experience in this rainforest and relay it to my friend back home, and thus the idea of an immersive, sensory work was born.
Universally the work speaks of ecological loss: deforestation, extinction, and climate change. Loss of habitat leads to loss of species, which is experienced on an almost daily basis and sets cyclical counter-effects in motion. Our relationship with technology is underpinned by a duality: On one hand we fear the reality that technology is driving us further away from nature, and on the other hand we are increasingly relying on technology to experience nature. Technology thus becomes a mediator between ourselves and the natural world. Even though the work engages all senses, the crux of the theme lies in the visual aspect. The deliberate use of appropriated household and mechanical items speaks to current ecological concerns of a dystopian future. The harsh mechanical assembly, in juxtaposition to the organic forest it is designed to emulate, enforces the theme of the work.
In 2022 I was asked to recreate the work for the Spier Lightart Festival, where it was received with much enthusiasm and praise.
View the Spier Lightart 2023 website here.