Arboreal Collective is a collaborative team of three artists Nina Sumarac, Nicos Synnos, and Christos Panayiotou. Since 2000 Synnos and Sumarac worked together on experimental films and animation production by Toonachunks studio (works listed in the attachment) shown on many festivals in Cyprus and abroad and received numerous awards. The collaboration between the two was always fruitful and inspirative. Teamed also with Panagiotou, they have decided to form a creative collective that will work on contemporary art projects by developing a critical approach to social and environmental issues.
Their approach is based on a dialogical methodology, which they develop with the public through interactive artworks. Τheir aim is to use their artworks to develop a framework for dialogues on issues related to social and environmental topics. In other words, an attempt is made to transform knowledge on social and environmental issues dialogically and interactively rather than "didactically." The dialogical approach to our work acknowledges that reality is situational and perspectival. As such, our work establishes an intersubjective framework onto which knowledge is non-linearly shaped rather than linearly structured. The theoretical framework we refer to can be traced to Piagetian theory and Genetic Epistemology theory. Ιn practice, we will use new media technologies to shape the conditions in which the dialogical framework will be realized. Ηaving a social ethos, our group also aims to enrich the Cypriot artistic life and be a hub of communication between different institutions, social groups, and people. In other words, we aim to be a communication hub between art and society, between science, academia, and everyday life. As such, we aim to close the gap between art, academia, and society. In practice, this is achieved through expanding "The Arboreal Collective" by meeting and collaborating with local and international contemporary artists and groups, cultural institutions, contributors, and (environmental, social, and scientific) organizations.
For the Collective's first project, The Forest Project, which is proposed here, the team aims to explore and promote knowledge on the contemporary issue of the environmental crisis. Specifically, the work attempts to use new media art to set certain conditions, which will bring the viewer-visitor into a situation in which he or she will reflect on the environmental issues we are facing, but not in the usual linear way of just acquiring information, but instead, through interaction with the artworks exhibited. Furthermore, as formulated above, the new media technologies will promote dialogue and encourage transformation on matters related to environmental issues. Thus, this project provides a useful link between art and the broader communal and environmental issues directly relevant to this cultural services plan for promoting art events.
THE FOREST PROJECT by Arboreal Collective
Exploring the anatomy of selfhood through nature and technology may at first glance seem contradictory due to a long-standing narrative within contemporary culture, that often focalises a regressive relationship between science, the natural world and people. Taking this scepticism as a point of departure, Forest Project proposes a collaborative space through which this relationship can be reimagined via an altered modern lens; a lens that is more hospitable to intimate expansion through healing. An essential consideration for the traumas many of us face through lived experience and generational inheritance.
Redressing imbalances on a cellular level is in some respects akin to the slow art movement philosophy, which calls for the audience to develop a more mindful relationship with art. In this vein, this project invites thought-provoking contributions by Cypriot and international artists that initiate gradual changes in these perspectives via an exhibition, educational talks and interactive workshops. Utilising new technologies such as artificial intelligence alongside long-standing love of trees to create these conceptual transplantations, Arboreal Collective holds space for vital experiments to be made between the oldest and newest living beings. A comparative study of people and trees, this exhibition continues to explore humanity and its complexities within the context of nature.
Recent scientific inquiry is aligning itself with a long-established belief in the sophisticated network of communication, which trees engage with to sustain and nurture each other. As true social beings, they always behave collectively and protectively. Trees have emotions, they own language, family, sensory capacities, symbiosis with other species and climatic influence, they can love, count, remember. This important discovery of plant intelligence could provide some answers to many of today's environmental challenges. As a means of exploring the nurturing potential between humanity, nature and technology, this exhibition gives equal weight to all three by interweaving the narratives they convey individually and polyphonously through a … primitive/scientific discourse that comes at a crucial time in which we all need saving.
The exhibition will be held at NeMe Art Centre, Limassol
Time of the exhibition: November-December 2021
Duration: 15 days – 1 month