Forest Encounters‘ artists participate in the exhibition WILD SPOTS at <rotor> in Graz

WILD SPOTS — Enforesting Ourselves in the Urban World

07/06-03/08/2024 + 26/08-19/10/2024
Exhibition opening: Friday, June 7, 2024, 18:00–24:00
Opening ceremony: 20:00
Location: < rotor >, Volksgartenstraße 6a, Graz, Austria

Participating artists:

Francesca Aldegani • Kateryna Aliinyk • Nayari Castillo • Forest Encounters • Anita Fuchs • Lena Gätjens & Christina Helena Romirer • Simon Goritschnig • Christoph Grill • Kitti Gosztola & Bence György Pálinkás • GUKUBI MATO • Markus Hiesleitner • ILA • Isa Klee • Marianne Lang • Consuelo Méndez • Clara Oppel • Gernot Passath & Miro Schober • Nicole Pruckermayr • Coline Robin • Marina Stiegler • Helene Thümmel

Curated by: Margarethe Makovec

Margarethe Makovec, the curator of <rotor> Center for Contemporary Art, Graz-based collaborator organization of the Forest Encounters project, has invited our three artists Nayarí Castillo, Dušica Dražić, and Polonca Lovšin to take part in the exhibition Wild Spots — Enforesting Ourselves in the Urban World that traces the natural and wilderness in the urban context.

Forest Encounters. Once Upon a Time, brings together and exposes parts of three artistic research projects by artists Nayarí Castillo, Dušica Dražić, and Polonca Lovšin. The public is invited to step into many forests, real and imaginary.

An audio-work It Rains Differently by Dražić is a portrait of a forest as a fictional character. It is a meditation on collective labour, on imaginary that fulfil itself through the form of the forest that is in constant making and only through that manages to persist all the changes. The forest as a transnational, political, social and cultural collective entity. It Rains Differently is part of the artist’s long-term research into the state organized reforestations in Yugoslavia from 1978-1988, and production of her film-installation It Rains Differently that steps away from the symbolic realm, producing a new forest while producing the film.

Text: Dušica Dražić, Mirjana Dragosavljević and Tanja Šljivar / Voices: Milutin Dapčević, Vladislava Đorđević, Željko Maksimović, Paul Murray / Sound design: Bojan Palikuća

The Forest in Women’s Hands by Lovšin, is a series of collages spotlighting women foresters, hunters, and forest owners in Slovenia. The series examines our relationship to forests through the question of gender. In doing so, it relies on research by the Slovenian Forestry Institute which shows that, in contrast to their male counterparts, female forest owners are more likely to prioritize the ecological and social functions of their forest land over commercial interests. Lovšin conceives the work around the question: Can the ecological and social priorities of women in forestry lead us to greater respect for the interdependence and connectedness of the living world and, as a result, better conservation of our forests for the coming generations?

In June 2024 Nayarí Castillo will facilitate a series of workshops on the Forest Encounters Glossary, a collaborative and participatory process in which words that relate to sensorial experiences in the forest are being collected. Within the WILD SPOTS exhibition, we invite public to contribute to this growing dictionary of forests.

Castillo also participates in the WILD SPOTS exhibition with the Spells for Shapeshifting work-in-process, derived from her investigations of the urban forest. This artwork is part of the ample personal research speculating topics around other-than-human perceptions and the environment, conducted within the frameworks of the projects Simultaneous Arrivals and Forest Encounters.

For the past year, Castillo has been investigating the possibilities of transforming oneself into other animals. In this particular piece, Castillo adds folk magic into a series of playful instruments to see the shapeshifting results of the combination of some of her friends and Graz wild animals.
This installation is the first part of the work. In the second part, the artist will take Spells for Shapeshifting to the open space, allowing the public to try to transform into city animals.