Due to anthropogenic climate change causing higher temperatures, drought and better living conditions for tree pathogens, forests are endangered worldwide. Jungle Memory seeks to archive this ephemeral life form and its specific aesthetics in a vast digital database by photographically documenting forests, like on the Island of Vilm or the Hambach Forest in Germany, the primeval Bialowieza Forest in Poland, the Red Forest in Chernobyl or the burnt down parts of the Plumas National Forest in California. While our image of nature had traditionally been expressed through landscape painting, this project reinterprets the genre for the digital age; nature is not perceived by human senses, but rather through a Deep-Learning Algorithm. Artificial Intelligence can thus be understood as extending the ‘human gaze’ on nature. The technological appropriation of the natural world creates a digital hallucination, questioning the sublime nature-experience heralded in the romantic era.

During the process of applied machine learning, the project took a self-critical turn in analysing its own electric energy consumption. Calculating the carbon dioxide emissions of projects and integrating them in their display (e.g. Change the system, Mars on Earth, 880), is an effort to begin to understand and visualize these rather abstract relationships.

Various Forests, Jungle Memory started in 2017

Co-produced with Daan Lockhorst.