Underwood explores what humans can learn from forests as interconnected systems. Based on pioneering research exploring the idea that trees in a forest relate and communicate with each other through a complex rhizomatic network of roots and fungi, through which they share resources and are interdependent (Suzanne Simard, UBC). Their survival, and the entire ecosystem, relies on this underground “web” which is virtually analogous to maps of the human neural network and the internet. We propose to delve into this physical underground consciousness and use it as a model for the way we make decisions and react to others.
The workshop taking place in woods onsite, is both a performative experiment in group dynamics and an attempt to make a physical map of a section of forest. We will work as a group to collaboratively produce a “map” of the dynamic underground root network through movement drawing. The act of mapping, of manifesting the underground world above ground, is here inseparable from the act of walking – the movements of the group will trace out an imagined, intuited set of lines, connections and nodes that reveal much about the ways that knowledge is embodied and enacted in people’s movements through, and shared experience of, the forest space. As a group we’ll consider the ways that hierarchies, power dynamics and collaboration can be compared between human and forest communities with a heightened degree of physical sensitivity.