Imprint 2013

This work was commissioned by the University of Warwick, for its Department of Engineering building and explores some of the research themes that preoccupied the department (complex system of flow dynamics, fractal forms, self-healing structures, and energy transference) through the ‘lens’ of a forest. The forest in question was the ancient woods at Birnam, in the uplands of Perthshire – a forest forever culturally associated with Shakespeare’s 17th century play Macbeth, at which time it would have seemed incomprehensible that humankind could bend nature to its will. ‘Natural Law’ in its hierarchical form was paramount, and its disruption led to chaos and a downfall that reverberated through social, political, domestic and psychological manifestations. Coventry – it might be noted – where Warwick University is situated, is of course the birthplace of Shakespeare.

Imprint consisted of three circular photographic light boxes and two 20 minute films displayed on twin monitors, all were shot at Birnam woods – a multifaceted theatre of vast interconnections and resourceful efficiencies, where the world can be seen in micro and macro, and a system can be sensed that thinks beyond its own immediate lifespan and in close association with other neighbouring organisms. Since Shakespeare’s 17th Century – our grasp of ‘how things work’ has grown exuberantly, but some may say we are still in the infancy of understanding how humans fit into this living system.

Commissioned by the University of Warwick. Credits: Robin Lloyd Jones – for input into interpreting the text from the Engineers, Aidan O’Rourke and Mark Vernon – for contributions to the sound track, and Andrew Millar & Sons for the fabrication of the circular aluminum light boxes and monitor frames.