ANCIENT FORESTS IN DEEP TIME
ANGELA GILMOUR & BETH JONES
IRELAND, USA, SVALBARD
ABOUT SHADOW FORESTS
Shadow Forests is a series of multi-media, immersive installations focusing on the intersections of deep time, climate change, and the expansive life and death of forests. Our on-going project focuses on representing four ancient forests, utilizing our own field research (and that of supporting scientists) in each location: Two fossil forests in New York State's Catskill Mountains are the oldest in the world, closely followed by those in Svalbard, High Arctic. The Gearach in Cork, Ireland is a submerged glacial woodland, flooded in 1954 to support a hydroelectric dam.
These forests are gone, leaving shadowy traces of what they once were. We capture these shadow forests in our work, and present an introduction to the science behind their demise and their historic impact on the planet’s carbon. Shadow Forests draws attention to the critical nature of our existing woodlands and the importance of preserving them for the future.
It is essential to learn the lessons that time teaches us. Understanding the deep past can lead to change in thought and action, and positively impact the current day and future of the global environment.
We are indebted to Dr. Bill Stein, Dr. Chris Berry, Dr. Lisa Amati, Dr. Charles Ver Straeten, Dr. Sean Mackay, Art Evans, Joseph Hasenkopf, JD, Jeff Palmucci, for their invaluable (and ongoing) support on this project.
It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that the fossil forests in New York State are located on the ancestral homelands of the Mohican people who are the Indigenous peoples of this land. Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from there, today their community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. We pay honor and respect to their ancestors past and present as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.
Angela Gilmour & Beth Jones
Gilmour and Jones’ recent work is in response to their shared experience on The Arctic Circle residency program, an art and science sailing expedition. They participated during June, 2019. The expedition traveled the waters of the international territory of Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago 10 degrees south of the North Pole. Gilmour and Jones are currently conducting field research, interviews and scientific investigations into ancient forests as a method of communicating current topical events relating to the environmental crisis.