Flipping the idea of a forest as a Biotic Pump on its head I imagined “Mechanical Trees” performing transpiration in place of trees. I started from an absurdist standpoint but learning about a carbon sequestering plant in Squamish, British Columbia connected my project to the “techno-fix” narrative driving culture.
Thinking about “Mechanical Trees” performing transpiration made me consider the economic, technical and logistical complexity of just one of the ecosystem services a tree provides. For the installation I wanted to create a space where you could walk into a “Biotic / Mechanical Pump” and without knowing any of the technical information you could intuit the folly of focusing on technology at the expense of nature in the decision making that is shaping our future.
The installation combines a grouping of tree-trunk like shapes that are animated by a video loop I shot while on Rio Negro (Black River) in the Amazon. The video oscillates between sections shot while paddling through the submerged section of the forest full of sounds of life, transitioning into a portion of the video which is dominated by the sound of a boat engine and its wake as it travels across the river. Both interpretations create the illusion of the trunk-like shapes moving water. The difference between walking within a Biotic or a Mechanical Pump is unmistakable.