The Forest is in the City is in the Forest


The Forest Is in the City Is in the Forest was a two-day workshop conducted by The Forest Curriculum in collaboration with IdeasCity of the New Museum, New York as one of the satellite programs of the Nanyang Technological University Centre for Contemporary Art (NTU CCA) Ideas Fest 2020 that “speculate on connections between the built environment, the natural world, and social movements.” Taking place in Los Baños, Laguna on 19 and 20 February 2020, the workshop is led by Cristian Tablazon and Tan Zi Hao, and participated by over 50 artists from various disciplines.

“Nature has history, and the histories of man are entangled with those of natures. In Southeast Asia, these histories of nature are even more so deeply tied to colonial rule and to the ideologies of the authoritarian or dictatorial regimes that followed European and American colonization. These regimes enacted not only an extractivist relationality with nature, but went further and conducted, and continue to conduct, experiments in ways of controlling nature. We propose to begin from Cristian Tablazon's research and curatorial project Variations of the Field at the UP Vargas Museum that draws from the overdeterminations of natural-history infrastructure in Los Baños, Laguna. Taking off from the historical and political trajectories excavated by Tablazon, artist Tan Zi Hao will present and lead the workshop in dialogue, drawing from his engagements in colonial and natural histories and nonhuman agencies in the cosmologies of the Malay Peninsula and Java. How do we imagine these histories as a cosmological complex? In what ways do the layers of these worlds, these strata of different histories interact? And what devices must be built to not only unpack, but work with these processes of layering? Drawing threads of connection from this “man-made” forest, this workshop will include presentations by the two artists, followed by activities led by them in which they share aspects of their methodologies, especially those developed during the course of their engagement with the two spaces” 

Image credits

Slide images - AK Ocol, Nomina Nuda, Dominic Zinampan, Sidney Valdez, Abhijan Gupta, Mijoo Park, Jed Gregorio

GIF Poster - Christian Tablazon