Calling for participants for the opening season 6th March – 17th April 2022
What is the politics in the knowledge we develop about co-existence with/in Nature?
How are we to ‘conspire’ – i.e. join forces and act together – to set up an experiment in studying, researching, living and working together in which we consider collaborative survival on a damaged planet?*
FO.R.E.ST is an experiment in learning together outside the educational industrial complex, self-organized by an urgent need for socio-environmental transformation. It seeks to expand environmental studies with modes of activism and social practices that acknowledge the capacity of all of us to agitate for transformation with our participation in the world.
There are no lecturers, students, or staff. Study and practice are driven by the participants who come together for 6 weeks at a time (a ‘season’) to study, live, and practice an alternative lifeworld. The participants shape the program centered on several critical concerns and points of inquiry, along the intersections of environmental degradation, colonial and extractive capitalism, sexism, racism, imperialism, more-than-human relationality and the domination of nature.**
FOREST takes place in MASSIA, a self-organised residency space located in a former primary school in the village of Massiaru, which lies at the border between Estonia and Latvia. The environment is ideal for social exploration of its integrated and diverse ecosystem, abundant with forests, bogs, fields and the shores of the Baltic Sea. Adjacent to the house is a garden invested in herbal medicine and engagement with gardening as critical practice***. Thus, the experiment is inextricably entangled with the living surroundings of which it takes place in.
‘Conspiring’ in FO.R.E.ST means living together as a research community that investigates the potentials and pitfalls of production and reproduction on multiple registers: social, environmental, domestic, pedagogic, and ‘professional’. Furthermore, FO.R.E.ST is an invitation to question and reconfigure the ways we come to know, how we embody what we know, how we participate in the world, and what realities we produce and reproduce on a daily basis.
If you want to know more, visit www.forest-forest.org, or read on for details about spring at FO.R.E.ST.
Who we think with in this email:
* Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Heather Anne Swanson, Elaine Gan, and Nils Bubandt, eds., Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet
** Carolyn Merchant, Radical Ecology. The Search for a Livable World; TJ Demos, Beyond The World’s End. Arts of Living at the Crossing; Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought
For spring 2022 we are looking for 12 participants. The call is both for the upcoming season and possibly an ongoing engagement with FO.R.E.ST.
4 Co-conspirators are scheduled and descriptions of their invitations can be found below.
Who should get in touch?
Anybody interested in expanded and critical understandings of ecology and socio-environmental struggles, who wants to co-cultivate a long-term collective learning situation.
1st season: 6th March – 17th April, 6 weeks
2nd season: 1st July – 12th August, 2022, 6 weeks
3rd season: 10th October – 21 November, 6 weeks
And continuing this rhythm going forward
MASSIA residency, Estonia (www.massia.ee)
125 euro/week (750 euro/6 weeks), covering accommodation and presence of Co-conspirators and Complotters, excluding food (ca. 30 euro/week)
Fund-raising is in progress. If you need support in accessing funding for your participation, please get in touch with us. Likewise, if you have ideas or opportunities to support FO.R.E.ST financially, do not hesitate to add your proposals.
How to conspire?
Please write an email to email@example.com and share about yourself, what resonates with you, what you would bring to the situation, and whatever else you feel relevant to share. We will organise video calls with people who signal their interest, during which time we can provide more context and get a sense for one another.
*The first call in July taught us that wild times don’t allow for wild timing. After too short a notice for the fall conspiracy 2021, the opening season will now take place in spring of 2022.
Co-conspirators for spring season 2022
(in order of co-conspiracy dates)
Arjuna Neuman is a multimedia artist based in Berlin/London. He works with the essay form as an inherently future-oriented and experimental mode, which shifts between the bodily, haptic and affective through to the geopolitical, planetary and cosmological. His recent works re-think our planetary relationships, tracing the violence of certainty in Western European knowledge and linear time, questioning the form of the universal human, and its ethical program.
In September Arjuna invites into using sound and the making of mixtapes to explore an ecological unconscious in found music and recorded sound. Tactics of remixing, selecting, cutting, and combining lend themselves to approach sound as much as history, culture, epistemology and ontology. By means of ‘worldbuilding with mixtapes’ Arjuna invites to learn how to think/speculate sonically; and to consider the potential of mixtapes to carry subversive and critical content to unlikely audiences.
Kadri Tüür works as researcher and lecturer at Tallinn University and at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy. Her research fields include Estonian environmentalism, heritage technologies, zoosemiotics, ecosemiotics and nature representations. She is also editor of the craft research journal Studia Vernacula.
Together with Kadri we enter the fields and layers of sign relations and meaning making among more-than-human meaning making communities – in the place where FO.R.E.ST is situated, in the woods and bogs, at the neighbors’ chicken coop, in the garden, etc. We’ll think about how meaning and mutual understanding is created across species’ borders and how to be more sensitive towards our non-human neighbors, be they birds, plants, or earthworms.
Juss Heinsalu is primarily an artist who lives and works both in Estonia and in Canada. His material research explores the embodiment of life in clay, merging scientific hypotheses, mythological and ethnographic knowledge. Juss is curious about the ground, the materiality of “clay” and the perception of micro-macro scales. He investigates the prevalent meanings of mineral matter using raw clay, ceramic elements, optical apparatuses and inventive material combinations – to create speculative conditions presenting alternative clay-based lifeforms.
Together with Juss, we will take a closer look at the land we stand on, and how we could better understand our relationship to the world of minerals. We will visit Särghaua Earth Science Centre, conduct field work and hands-on experiments. By asking open-ended questions and using speculation as a tool, the aim is to investigate the narrative and perspective of belonging, the origin and aftermath of life: what knowledge is embedded in the ground? where does science merge with mythology? are rocks alive? what are the ways to see or touch geology? do materials hold memory? what kind of languages and patterns can be revealed in soil, mud or clay? what happens when light is shone through them? one day, will we become clay? etc.
Kobe Matthys practices gardening, art, activism and research within various collectives and groups in Brussels such as Zenne Garden, Agency, State of the Arts and Apass. Kobe has been involved in self-organised knowledge and practice sharings for many years, and encountered perma-culture as a practice and lens emerging from worker’s movements in Belgium, as a counter movement to destructive corporate agriculture and its consequences to the commons.
Kobe invites to spend time with the garden, practice and discuss perma-culture – also critically, e.g. examining the appropriation of knowledges it is based on, the contradictions of systematising and transposing knowledge that is closely related to place – and to explore the multiple avenues into the political that gardens and agri-cultural practices offer.