Seeing Like A Forest

Seeing Like A Forest

Xin Cheng, 2019
Single-channel HD digital video, colour, sound, duration 34 min 31 sec.
Camera: Jesús Pulpón
Calligraphy: Wigger Bierma
Courtesy of the artist 
With thanks to Creative New Zealand

Everyday resourcefulness is central to the work of Xin Cheng. Her recent film Seeing Like A Forest was made in Hamburg. While living in the city for three years, she reflected on over a decade of research observing the small modifications to shared spaces made by non-specialists, around the Asia-Pacific and Europe. Walking, talking, doing and making, Cheng learns from close looking; in this work she shows some of the approaches people take to adapting their communal environments, examples of inventive resourcefulness and heartwarming waste minimisation.

Spheres: An Online Video Project

An online series of moving image works exploring social distance and personal environments including works from Xin Cheng, John Chrisstoffels, Conor Clarke, Ronnie van Hout, Sonya Lacey, Janet Lilo, Sione Monu, James Oram, Nova Paul, Bridget Reweti, Sriwhana Spong, and Matavai Taulangau.

Considering the recent popularity of the word ‘bubble’, the Spheres series examines how we interact, and our emotions, thoughts and sensations in relation to our surroundings. German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk described societal structure spatially, as spheres expanding from intimate bubbles to globes and foams. These works offer different perspectives on social distance, personal environments and the close radius of home. 

We invited artists to share something of their spheres, the ideas and places they live with and around. Their works touch on a variety of concerns, from environmental issues to consumerism and the importance of preserving cultural knowledge. Experienced online, they also reflect on representation and the contemporary circulation of imagery and information, the transfer to digital that allows us to reach out into the world.