Project Description

Foresta-Inclusive, proposes to make perceptible to the human senses, the slow and subtle movements of trees and surrounding ecology of the forest in the creation of a number of interactive art installations designed to ask questions such as: What does it mean to be alive and have agency?; How can we re-train ourselves to slow down and listen to voices that have been marginalized for millennia?; What does it mean to be in dialogue with something that does not share the same language nor temporal reality?; and once we acknowledge the ‘aliveness’ of something, what are the ethical implications of that recognition? This project is geared towards listening and learning from these voices and finding ways to engage with the public with the intention of rethinking and resituating our relationship with the natural world.

Foresta-Inclusive infrastructure is comprised of a networked (Internet) outdoor art installation, which I am calling a sculptural sensor hub, that links the ecosystem of a forest to a gallery installation. The sculptural sensor-hub will be installed in a forest unobtrusively onto the trunk of a tree. This hub is WIFI enabled, and is connected to eight ecosensors (soil temperature, soil humidity, particulate (.1 μm – 10 μm), light, air temperature, wind, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)/C02, and rain) with which to collect live data from the body of the forest, both above ground and subterranean phenomena. This data is then sent to an Internet of Things platform (IoT), which can be harvested and materialized in any location in the world. The Internet of things is a term coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999, IoT broadly refers to objects connected to the Internet, each uniquely identifiable and capable of providing real time information about the world.  For this project I am developing a number of artworks that materialize this data both independently and with collaborators. The goal of the Foresta-Inclusive infrastructure is to use the real-time collected data from the sensor hub to translate the different types of natural, physical, and chemical phenomena experienced (wind, atmospheric pressure), produced (VOC), and consumed (C02, Rain, light) by trees, into interactive immersive installations and networked sculptures. The artworks generated by the proposed infrastructure will simultaneously express the complexity and liveliness of the ecosystem of the forest, while at times allowing the public to engage and co-create experience. This work is not designed to replace real life experiences within the forest, but rather to create the context for perceiving, intellectualizing, materializing and understanding the liveliness and intelligence embedded within the naturalized Other, as a way of initiating a deeper sense of empathy and understanding of the workings of more-than-human minds.

This project is evolving according to context. For the CAFKA biennial in Kitchener the hub was installed on a tree in Kitchener, ON, and the visualization was exhibited in a large window display, as well as on-line. Other projects include:

Foresta-Inclusive: Herstmonceux (working title): As part of the ‘Environments of Change’ Partnership Grant I will incorporate the data from the dendrochronology studies of the climate scientists doing the historical climate analysis of the area surrounding Herstmonceux castle. Dendrochronology is the scientific method of dating tree rings by using core samples from live trees or wooden constructions made from old timber. From these samples, we can learn about the climate and atmospheric conditions of the past, for example we can learn if there was a drought in 1852. This project will image live data as well as historic climate data in an interactive installation where the movement of body of the viewer can trigger atmospheric shifts within the gallery as they explore the contemporary and historic climate realities of the region’s trees.

Foresta-Inclusive: Plant Incubator: This project involves the creation of a fully autonomous incubator that will allow the forest to control levels of rain, mist, heat, light and wind in real time in of a small enclosed space that contains a tree sapling. The plant will be matched with the type of forest that will control its environment (a boreal forest has trees such as spruce, fir, pine, or deciduous trees like birch, aspen, poplar), which will permit the forest to prepare a sapling for transplantation into the forest.


Upcoming Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions:

  • CAFKA21: CAFKA Biennial, (selected) Kitchener, CA. 2021.
  • India Science Festival, Science Gallery, Bengaluru India (on-line). 2021
  • PHYTOPIA, (selected) Science Gallery, Bengaluru India (on-line). 2020

For the on-line version of the exhibition:

Web Article: Aranha, Mickal. "This art installation shows you what a tree is feeling in real time." [On-line: July 19, 2021].


Faadhi Fauzi

Kyle Duffield,

Scott Grunerud,

Marius Kintel,

Idean Mehrdadi,


Special thanks to:

Joël Gähwiler for developing

Zeitdice for the use of their stop motion camera:

For financial support:

"Environments of Change" Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

School of Art, Media, Performance and Design, York University, Toronto, ON. CA.