Swedish Mirage

Like its predecessor Mirage (2009) the pixelated tree sculpture Swedish Mirage interrogates what is real and what is not. But while the pixelated oil palm reminds of a mirage during a hot desert day, Swedish Mirage further evokes questions of abstraction and decreasing natural forest in Sweden. Today, the primary forest constitutes only 0,3% of the total Swedish forest areal. The majority consists of so-called production forests, land to be exploited for the wood industry. The threatened ’urskog’ is essential for biodiversity and the habitat of the wildlife ecosystem, but it also contains a snapshot of Earth’s climate: the concentric tree rings, shaped by weather and wind can reveal valuable information about the past.

Measured 80 x 230 x 110 cm, the pixelated Swedish Mirage rises above the ground. The anodized aluminum cubes, built upon each other, revoke several popular video games of today. Like the protagonists’ pickaxe in Minecraft, which creates new built environments from the destruction of the same, the pixelated tree sculpture visualizes how wood building material likewise demands exploration of the forest. The digital-like tree sculpture is therefore a form of paradox. Data like building blocks, constructions of information ordered and structured in meaningful ways simultaneously, the pixelation blurs the form into anonymity. A contradiction that summarizes the Swedish forest politics of today: we have more forest than during the last 150 years, but at the same time, we witness an increasing soil degradation, loss of biological diversity, and the threat of wildfires in the wake of climate change. Maybe, the only green wildlife that will remain in the future is the undulating digital landscapes we witness virtually in several open-world video games.

Swedish Mirage was made on commission for SEB art collection Stockholm, 2018

Detail, close-up
Computer visualization
Work in progress

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