To Burn, Forest, Fire takes place as a series of incense burning ceremonies that awaken our sensorium and elicit an intimate, intuitive relation to the natural world confronting us with the sensorial richness of forest ecologies and the prospect of extinctions caused by humanity. Stemming from collaborations with scientists across different disciplines, the work speculates on the olfactory qualities of the first and last forest on our planet. The earliest forest is believed to have formed in present-day Cairo (New York State, United States) about 385 million years ago; whereas the last forest before environmental collapse is identified with the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, in the Ecuadorian Amazon, an ecosystem threatened by rampant deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices. Katie Paterson’s interdisciplinary investigation resulted in the creation of incense sticks, blended by Japanese incense maker Shoyeido, that propagate the distinct fragrances of the two forests pushing our understanding of reality beyond the domain of the visible.
* Admission is Free. Entrance is on a first-come first-served basis up to the capacity allowed by the prevailing social distancing measures. Audiences are to arrive at least 15 minutes before the performance starts. Please note that the performance entails the burning of incense inside an indoor space.
The projects of Katie Paterson (b. 1981, Scotland) consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change. Her artworks make use of sophisticated technologies and specialist expertise to stage intimate, poetic, and philosophical engagements between people and their natural environment. Combining a Romantic sensibility with a research-based approach, conceptual rigour and minimalist presentation, her work collapses the distance between the viewer, the edges of time, and the cosmos. Her solo exhibitions were presented at NYLO The Living Art Museum, Reykjavík, Iceland (2021); The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (2020); and the Utah Museum of Modern Art, Salt Lake City, United States (2017). To Burn, Forest, Fire is a IHME Helsinki Commission 2021.
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