Seeing the Wood Through the Trees: Doing Art and Anthropology in the Forest.

Seeing the Wood Through the Trees: Doing Art and Anthropology in the Forest.

14:00-16:00. Thursday 13th June. NMS Seminar Room

rai new obs wood for the trees

In conversation with Georges Charbonnier, the painter André Marchand famously remarked of his experience of walking in the forest: ‘I have felt many times that it was not I who was looking at the forest. On some days I have felt that the trees were looking at me...’ This session will bring together four scholars, all of whom are currently combining approaches from art and anthropology in studying the lives and times of trees, to consider the question: How do trees look at us? And how in turn do we, who have become tree-like through long immersion in the woods, see with our arboreal eyes?

Amanda Thomson is an artist who will speak about her work with ecologists, foresters and rangers in the Scottish forests of Culbin and Abernethy. She will discuss how the richness of forests can be explored through a practice that incorporates bookworks, prints, video and soundworks.

Jennifer Clarke will consider what it might mean to pursue a visual anthropology of trees by collaborating with artists, exploring approaches to ecology and art which are enacted through working with trees and forests.  How might art work might open up the ways we understand them?

Jo Vergunst will talk about trees and community life in rural Aberdeenshire, where ‘the forestry’ has been alternately hiding and revealing the inhabitation of previous generations of crofters.

Tim Ingold will discuss the work of the wood sculptor David Nash. Nash has described his own artistic practice as an ‘anthropology of trees’. What kind of anthropology is this, that takes trees not just as objects of research but as co-participants in a life process?

This event is made possible by the University of Aberdeen.

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Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

Our Sponsors

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:

UDDA NMS SSGS ED Unversity of Aberdeen StAndrews WILEY