School of the Forest
interdisciplinary art project
ongoing since december 2020

co-curated with Paula Baeza Pailamilla and Domenico Ermanno Roberti

School of the Forest is a process- and research-based project that aims to create a fragmentary, decentralized, and horizontal framework to produce and exchange knowledge about, within, and with the forest. School of the Forest converged, for the first time, in Sihlwald, a forest situated outside of Zurich. The production of knowledge should create a new set of understandings of the idea of the Sihlwald as a demarcated territory and denominated “nature space” by humans. On the contrary, the forest will be a site and an actor in the project. Where does the forest begin and end? What does a forest embrace? Why does the forest matter?
The goal is to decentralize the (human) experience of the forest from a decolonial, feminist, and non-anthropocentric perspective. The project activities are inspired by promenadology, the act of perceiving through walking. On the one side, they would aim to go beyond the culture/nature dichotomy and reframe the possibility of our experience of “being-in-the-nature” and “being-with-the-nature” itself - to a large extent: How can we perceive and understand the forest? On the other side, we would like to tackle the question: What can we learn from the forest? We should advance towards un-learning systems of knowledge that objectivize and facilitate the subjugation of nature and accordingly towards new learning processes based on relationships with the forest’s lifeforms. After its first iteration, School of the Forest will take place every two years.

This project was in the making for a while. Then I had the luck and pleasure to meet Paula Baeza Pailamilla. We simply started to walk and explore along the Sihl river which gives its name to the Sihlwald and finally, the project started to take a real shape. Afterwards, we asked Domenico Ermanno Roberti to join us and we finally felt we were completed. It has been an enriching collaboration with Paula with Domenico... and with our dearest Sihl. It keeps us fluidly creative.
cover image by Jana Figliuolo and gallery images by Virginia Kargachin, Matthias Pfaller and Laura Rodríguez.
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