Sleeping and awakening
a multichannel video installation, 26:21min, 2018/2021
by Agnes Meyer-Brandis
What colour would a forest have if it had only one colour?Green? Maybe not…
This arrangement of the multi-channel video installation shows each tens of thousands images taken from scientific observation cameras of forests in Finland over the course of two years – and their average RGB colour values. The point of departure of this investigation was a conversation with the forest and climate researcher Pasi Kolari. Being asked if there is such a thing as ‘beautiful data’, the scientist showed a statistical diagram that he loved, representing the incoming and outgoing green chromatic coordinates of a forest.
Forest Green shows the awakening and sleeping of trees over the course of several years. The left video channels each show monochrome colour fields. The colours are precisely calculated and reveal the average colour value in RGB of the vegetation, generated by custom-made software. Rapidly, changing glimpses reflect the colour palette of nature, of days and nights, as well as the year’s cycle.
The right channels show the immediate reality of boreal forests from which the RGB data are generated: webcam images taken from several forest field stations in Finland (2014-2016) to explore the link between vegetation phenology and CO2 exchange events over time. During the night and the dark winter days of the far north the images are black. The sound track is echoing the blinking colour narration.
In cooperation with: Pasi Kolari and the SMEAR Forest Research Station Hyytiälä/Finland, University Helsinki and Climate Whirl. Software: Christian Dietz. Sound: Michael Moser. Data: Pasi Kolari and Mikko Peltoniemi, MONIMET Project of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the University of Helsinki (UHEL), PhenoCam project. With support from: Stiftung Kunstfonds.
BIO AGNES MEYER- BRANDIS
With a background in sculpturing and new media, Berlin-based artist Agnes Meyer-Brandis hovers on the fringes of science, fiction and fabulation. After a brief stint in mineralogy, she studied at the art academies in Maastricht, Düsseldorf and Cologne and later founded the Research Raft - an Institute for Art and Subjective Science that “asks questions but doesn’t give answers” in fields such as climate research, environmental studies, meteorology, synthetic and artistic biology. Meyer-Brandis’ work has been exhibited around the world and received many prizes, including a Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction.