the moving forest by beth derbyshire the moving forest by beth derbyshire
sep 02, 2012

the moving forest by beth derbyshire

‘the rootless forest’ by beth derbyshire

beth derbyshire: the rootless forest the new art gallery walsall canal basin september 20th through october 7th open daily 10am- 5pm

english artist beth derbyshire, known for her ambitious large scale installations, has conceived the ‘rootless forest‘. the monolithic artwork is a mobile, floating landscape – a bonafide mini forest made of real trees, planted in a barge that travels at walking pace along the british birmingham and black country canals. the piece also introduces the element of sound, tackling the concepts of adjustment, homecoming and relocation told by recorded stories of two families from the military and UK afghan communities in birmingham. the work is informed by the moving forest, birnam wood, in shakespeare’s play macbeth – it cites the warning given to macbeth that ‘macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until / great birnam wood to high dunsinane hill / shall come against him’. the motif of birnam wood – which primarily represents a prophetic device – becomes an act of disguise and discord.

the artist discusses the importance of the shakespearian reference:

‘shakespeare dramatically explored trees as strategic devices and the forest ‘as a habitat for multiple voices, which occupy a transitional space – literally and metaphorically – between the past and the future…'(1) and woods were also used to create an emotional landscape.’ continuing this strand ‘the rootless forest’ broadcasts a new constituency of voices drawn from refugee and veteran communities, making links between their pasts to their present in birmingham. birnam wood has become an image embedded in british culture and collective imagination.

however in this project, the forest’s mode of conscription has evolved from a forest being borne on the bodies of the fictitious army in macbeth to a forest that echoes contemporary voices from communities affected by conflict. ‘the rootless forest’ traverses the canal network that once serviced birmingham’s industrial past and its route passes the famous gun factories of birmingham. birmingham and the midlands is a region where troops are repatriated and injured troops are treated at the queen elizabeth hospital. this indirectly creates an emblematic arc between birmingham’s history as a place of arms manufacture to its contemporary present, a centre for military recovery.’

a video introducing the concept of the ‘rootless forest’ project

the work is informed by the moving forest, birnam wood, in shakespeare’s play macbeth

the piece replicates a real forest

preparing the barge the barge travels at walking pace along the british birmingham and black country canals

a video documenting the construction process of the piece

  • very beautiful sculpture, but it would be appropriate to provide a reference to Robert Smithson’s “Floating Island” project, conceived in 1970 and realized in 2005 on the Hudson River…

    LEGO says:
  • How do the birds feel about this?

    TATTOO-LY says:
  • I like how the forest is pulled by a boat spewing smog

    Brain says:
  • smoggly bottom trees

    popduds says:

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