The Temporal Forest

A side trip into the ecology of the forest

The view of the landscape is sharpened, which has been strongly shaped by salt mining and industry in recent centuries.

Subject to change
The Temporal Forest
© SEEC Photography, 2023

Enar de Dios Rodriguez, Philipp Haslinger, Thomas Juffmann, Jonathon Keats (artists, scientists)

Christina Jaritsch (Head of Programme Climate Change, Gender Diversity)

from may 2024

About the project

Using custom-built cameras, environmental artist Jonathon Keats has created a method for capturing ultra-long photographic exposures; at the same time, SEEC Photography has developed a method for capturing ultra-fast videos that can depict the movement of light across everyday objects at exposure times of less than a billionth of a second. The combination of these two timelines provides a unique perspective on the global, man-made conditions of living in the world. Decisions made in an instant can have far-reaching consequences for the environment over centuries. This is especially true for forestry, where there is a direct link to global warming. “Temporal Forest” aims to illustrate the ecology of the forest and forestry practices in the context of a concept of time. On a mountain top in the Salzkammergut region, a camera is installed overlooking a landscape that has been heavily shaped by salt mining and industry in recent centuries. An attached plaque refers to the 1000-year exposure time and is intended to encourage hikers to look at the environment from the long-term perspective of trees.

An indoor installation in the Brauhof gallery in Scharnstein will show films in which light moves at the speed of light over a tree, wood and forestry equipment. With exposure times of less than a billionth of a second, these films illustrate the dynamics crucial to photosynthesis on a time scale 20 orders of magnitude different from the 1000-year exposures. Exactly in between is the moment when humans make decisions – decisions that can have repercussions for centuries to come. These installations therefore highlight the need to think beyond man’s natural time horizon – a challenge that has never been more urgent than it is today.
Accompanying the project, a brochure will highlight the historical relationship between wood and the European salt industry, and a map will be produced leading to the millennium camera in the Alps.