Spring Workshop resides in Wong Chuk Hang, the quintessential post-industrial Hong Kong landscape which is now transforming rapidly into a community of creative inhabitants occupying the factory floors. Comprised of hundreds of incredibly thin metallic bamboo poles, The Industrial Forest acknowledges the origin of Wong Chuk Hang’s heritage by translating the yellow bamboo that used to grow there into a new landscape. Each filament is removable, with the potential to carve out a void from within the dense forest of landscape. Over a series of months the installation will be altered to accept significant crowds or be arranged to restrict access to the site.
As an urban forest, it is configured to obscure the industrial buildings surrounding it to carefully frame the sky above. Located on the terrace of Spring Workshop, it aligns with the datum set by the traffic on the neighbouring elevated highway. Viewing the installation from the highway has a hypnotic effect, as the forest appears to simultaneously blend into and be displaced by the industrial landscape surrounding it. Along the walls of the terrace is a mirrored surface that falsely duplicates and replicates the field of geometric poles, providing the illusion of depth and substance where there is none. The grass on the ground is completely artificial, meticulously crafted to show the imperfections of real grass, the yellowing, the patchiness, the deterioration – it was originally created to reflect the result of a long-term drought brought about by global warming. Our grass is no longer green and so neither is our fake grass, the synthetic nature mirrors the conditions of our natural environment oscillating between artifice and nature. But the manufactured grass is too perfectly imperfect, never muddied or soiled, never allowing variations with the seasons or reacting to local conditions. It is too consistent to be real. Unlike the synthetic grass, our forest reacts to its environment. The weight of a single spectator causes the poles to bend slightly, reacting directly to the presence of the visitor. They are so slender that they blow in the wind, providing an indication of the local wind velocity and trajectory. The tip of each pole illuminates during the evening: a hazy reddish-orange colour if the pollution levels are extremely high, white for normal conditions, and a crisp blue for exceptionally clear skies. Powered by a photovoltaic panel, if the skies are too dark during the day the lights fail to illuminate at all. The Industrial Forest invites interpretation and recurrent transformation. Within the installation multiple experimental inquiries will be created, reacting to the seasonal changes. Herbal gardens with local Chinese values and symbols will be injected and experimental sound components will be added enhancements to the artificial bamboo filaments, building new dialogues to examine the complexity of artifice and nature.
ESKYIU’s Industrial Forest was commissioned by Spring, an arts space committed to an international cross-disciplinary program of artist and curatorial residencies, exhibitions, music, film and talks.
Featured in Wallpaper*. The interactive ‘forest’ will evolve with new experiences. More details here.
Profiled in the South China Morning Post newspaper article entitled, “Design duo foster debate on the built environment” More details here.
Featured in ARTINFO article, “Very Real Fake Nature in the Industrial Forest Installation” by Zoe Li. More details here.
Location: Highway terrace of Spring in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong. More details here.
Date: February 28th 2013 – Ongoing
Lead Designers: Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu.
Project Team: Maggie Hua, Enid Xuezhu Tian, Aaron Kuan, Wilton Ip.
The Industrial Forest film:
Film created by Eric Schuldenfrei, Marisa Yiu and Richard Andersen.