PRIMEVAL FOREST

 

River Edge

Primeval Forest on our planet is perhaps not existing anymore as we humans have touched every bit of forest.
Yet, new primeval forest starts to appear there where humans leave nature alone.
A wonderful example is Broadbalk Field by Rothamsted Experimental Station, South England.
In 1882 the farmer left a winter wheat field, not even harvested the wheat, alone. The field had to look after itself without any help from humans. Four years later the wheat plants, except for 4, made room for other plants, 40 different plants had moved in, 21 years later 57 ‘wild’ plants were counted.
This experiment shows us how nature moves into an area which is just 0.2 hectare. The field had been farmed since 1664 and perhaps even longer and all around are agricultural fields.

regenerate

In 1915 a grove had developed on the land with mainly Oaks, Hazels and Brambles, slowly but certainly the land converted to forest. It became an example for many other areas. Close to where i live, there is a small new primeval river forest. The area has been left alone, meaning has not been managed, people walk and talk here all the time. It is right along the shores of one of the most busy rivers called ‘De Lek’ one of the main routes from the big harbours from Rotterdam to Germany.
The forest takes no notice of all the passing boats and just moves in while writing this.

rooting in

It is a damp place to be and all trees need to deal with wet feet, they grow amidst Reed and other water-edge plants.
The young trees are all self-seeded and some fall over or are eaten to feed the rest of the trees who still stand.
Only a very few trees are old trees all the rest moved in on their own, it is not an ancient forest. Most old forest was gone by 1300 in the Netherlands only a few bits were spared, mainly along the rivers or places harder to make into farmland.

dead feeding the living

Now at many places we turn back time as we move towards an other future by leaving areas to defend for themselves.

It  shows how nature can recover even after a long time of cultivation. Most of the rivers here were almost dead rivers due to pollution coming not only from own ground but also flowing down stream from Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland and further afield.
The environmentalists made a great difference and the rivers are recovering from the pollution for centuries. There are now strict environmental laws in place preventing pollution as much as it can.

making ways

We can give back to nature what we once took away.
We can speed up the time it takes to recover by playing wind and bird by spreading seeds and planting sticks.
All it takes is time and patience.

oeps what is this

It is wonderful to experience them little surprises.

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land art forest

 

a drop in the ocean

The photos will always be related to LandArt, documenting that vanishing moment in LandArt. It comes as no surprise to go from a photo back into LandArt.

The organisers of the exhibition ask me to give a talk about my work at Clegyr Boia in Wales. How can a drop relate to 6 hectare of land, perhaps the feeling of really being just a drop in the oceaan while you know you should be so much more than a drop.
The little feed the big and the big feed the little, we forget, we give up before we start, feeling so little among the so big.
All them little drops form an oceaan, without a drop no oceaan. Remember, many little create a big.

mushroom power

LandArt alters the landscape, sometimes just a moment, sometimes forever. The artists have a dialoog with nature in a landscape and from that dialoog flows a sculpture which alters that landscape.
They add something to the landscape or they intervene in the landscape or they act in the landscape.

a shape at the edge

The LandArt at Clegyr Boia became a landscape. The lessons learned there on that plot of land act as a basis for the next piece of LandArt. A concept that will be used for several pieces of LandArt, all around the world.
So the photo exhibition will be the onset for something much bigger than a drop in the oceaan.
Trees will play a major role as they always play a major role in so many different landscapes. Trees are the backbone of a landscape.

Tree Flag

Learning from past mistakes, learning from past failures, moving into achievement.
A book will be written about the experience at Clegyr Boia with at the end how to move them experiences into an achievable LandArt Forest.
The notebooks came out of the cupboard, photos are searched and gathered an idea takes shape.
Research starts, into books, newspapers and internet to make the idea grow.
While writing about the past contacts are made for a network of people and organisations to add onto that base of a forest.
New notebooks come into action and in November there will be more than just a drop in the oceaan.
The exhibition has been moved to November 2018 at Alcoutim in Portugal.
To create time.

distance looking

 

The BRIDGE, land-art forest

Last night I got the idea:
The BRIDGE, a new land art project which involves the planting of trees creating a thousand little and big land art forests all over the world. An ambitious project that can happen with the help of many people becoming land artists in their own environments.

an old oak tree as a piece of art, where culture and nature come together for the future

an old oak tree as a piece of art, where culture and nature come together for the future

It all started when i went to Rhôd where artists talked about future, nature, culture. A question which has been on my mind for a very long time is: ‘How can culture become nature for the future?’. The land art project Vagdavercustis gave me an answer: work with trees. This project taught me many lessons and i want to share them so there will be many land art forests all over the world.
The idea is not art in the forest, but the forest, the trees, being the art. You can plant the trees in certain patterns on the bare land, creating art with nature for the future.

planting trees in a pattern, every white rock becoming a tree

planting trees in a pattern, every white rock becoming a tree

A good idea, yet there are many perhaps and maybes. Here comes my knowledge and the learnings from Vagdavercustis useful. As with everything it will cost ‘money’ yet it will pay itself back in a very different way.

When Joseph Beuys created the 7,000 OAKS art project he made everybody an artist and the piece went further than just seven thousand Oaks. Whilst throwing 7000 basalt steles in front of the main location of the 1982 “documenta” in Kassel he took an entire city with all politicians and citizens as hostage; this ugly pile of grey stone was such a thread that the first thousand oaks were sold in no time. Beuys had the power and will to force society – or culture, so to say – into doing something valuable for the environment. A great idea and you can find all these oaks, each one together with its rock, al over the city.

However i am not Joseph Beuys and will have to work dam hard to get this kind of power he had at the end of his life. So i almost gave up, a well a good idea.

Hindmarsh Island Bridge

Hindmarsh Island Bridge

The above photo is the Hindmarsh Island Bridge and you can read the story about a very controverse building on wikipedia.
So last night i lay in bed to watch the Moon travel by, thinking about how to help and how all them good people with all them very good ideas never get a chance, people are so unfair to the people of the land. My mind went to the time i visited the people of Camp Coorong , the Ngarrindjeri people, the disaster about the building of the bridge and how they solved it in the end by buying a boat to get to their sacred land on Hindmarsh Island.The Ngarrindjeri people didn’t gave up, didn’t have much funding, but continue to care for their beautiful land.

the Coorong with a watchful dog looking at the far away Pelican.

The Coorong with a watchful dog looking at the far away Pelican.

How many people do feel just like me, being frustrated and angry and have given up stopping bridges to be build to develop more and more land for human usage.
So my mind went to “mindfullness thinking” in the now –  the future nor the past – but now. How can i plant trees now?
I thought about  somebody who just grew trees in the backyard and every spring he went with trees on the back of the bicycle to plant them in neglected areas or cleared areas in forests. We all could do so: direct action, for nature, creating art. We can plant them in patterns, we all can link together like a bridge creating a world wide bridge from culture to culture, a bridge from culture to nature. All these pieces of land art, tree art, forest art would have their own stories of their environment and their creator.
Nobody needs to be an expert; me and others could give advice how to plant the trees, when to plant them and how to choose a good spot. A website could be created with photos of all them pieces of art, all those bridges.
The website would show how to grow trees from seed or from cuttings even in a backyard or where to buy bare root trees. And how to look after them the first 2 years when they are adjusting to the environment.

A bridge as a connection at Trefin Beach

A bridge as a connection at Trefin Beach

Yesterday i made this bridge on the beach and when i walked back i came across an area perfect for some BRIDGE planting. I have 2 self seeded little baby trees in the garden who are not in the best spot; I will take them out in autumn put them in pots and plant them  again in the spring. A small stone bridge will come between them, like the above one, that made my heart smile and it made me sleep like a Rose.
So was the land art project BRIDGE born.
I might spend some time to create a website and to start the ball rolling – ready for next spring planting.

For the big land art forest, that i have in mind i need more time and i was still not so sure about it. Than the newsletter from Ecotricity, my power supplier, came in with an article about their new project: “Green Britain Foundation”. I will get in touch with them and talk about my ideas to get another ball rolling. I need a good land owner who would like to give a piece of land for the planting of a land art forest and the rest will come with it.
This is just an early step, a seed has been planted, it will take time to grow.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?