Serpentine Galleries and e-flux present: Formafantasma, Quercus, 2020 | Online screening
Tuesday, March 24–Tuesday, March 31, 2020
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Formafantasma, Quercus (still), 2020.

Serpentine Galleries and e-flux present an online screening of Formafantasma's new film Quercus, 2020.

This partnership builds on many previous collaborations between the Serpentine and e-flux such as the Agency of Unrealised Projects (AUP) in 2012.

Quercus will be on view from Tuesday, March 24 through Tuesday, March 31, 2020, and is the first in a series of film, video, and live event collaborations to be hosted on e-flux Video and Film in the coming weeks.

Formafantasma, Quercus, 2020
Video, 12:08 minutes
Courtesy of the artists
Collaboration: Emanuele Coccia

This film has been produced by manipulating a Lidar scan of an oak forest in Virginia. Lidar technology, which comes from the terms ‘light detection and ranging’, uses lasers to scan and record large surface areas and has often been used in cartography and archaeology. More recently, it has been adopted by the timber industry in order to selectively log trees, but like other mapping techniques included in Formafantasma's exhibition at Serpentine Galleries, could be repurposed for conservation. Here, it provides an opportunity to consider humans from the point of view of the trees, with a voiceover written by philosopher and botanist Emanuele Coccia.

Coccia’s text questions our own sense of dominance, observing the degree to which humanity is dependent upon the form and physicality of trees. It suggests a crucial shift in perspective if we are to find more radical ways of living with and protecting these complex ecosystems, one that stems from the understanding that humans and trees are inextricably interlinked.

The film is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Formafantasma:Cambio, which opened at Serpentine Galleries on March 4, 2020 and is temporarily closed in response to the spread of coronavirus.

Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin) return to the Serpentine following their participation in Serpentine’s Radical Kitchen Live Programme and the Work Marathon in 2018. Cambio is the third exhibition of design in the Serpentine’s history, following German product designer Konstantin Grcic’s curated show on ground breaking contemporary design, Design Real, in 2009/10 and influential London-based Italian designer Martino Gamper’s guest-curated exhibition design is a state of mind in 2014. It heralds the Serpentine’s commitment to embedding design practice, research and thinking into its programming from 2020 onwards.

Cambio brings together films, objects, artefacts and samples, including specially designed furniture made from a single tree felled during the 2018 storm Vaia in Val de Fiemme in Italy; wood samples loaned by institutions around the world, from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Belgium; smells specially developed to evoke the wet earth and flora of a forest, and maps of the rainforest made by indigenous communities in the Amazon. Cambio offers a re-evaluation of our relationship with trees and poses a series of essential questions about design and sustainability, most pertinently: What can we do to better understand the connection between the objects we use and the conditions that produced them? 

Italian design duo Formafantasma are based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Their work looks at design’s ecological and political responsibilities, while probing the global industries that consume natural resources.

Watch other works included in the exhibition and learn more at www.cambio.website.

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