Metsä, 2022
part of Cambio – on Finnish forestry

The film addresses the history and development of forests and forest management practices in Finland. As a way to unpack the complex relations between economy and forestry, the focus is on the differences and relations between a larger scale industry (paper pulp production) and a smaller reality such as the Finnish furniture producer Artek.

Shot in various locations in Finland, the visual essay makes use of colour infrared photography – a process by which it is possible to visualise near-infrared wavelengths which otherwise remain invisible to the human eye. In colour infrared image, the internal cell structure of vegetation strongly reflects the near-infrared wavelength, providing a more robust indicator of plant health than the visible green wavelength reflection of chlorophyll in the leaves. The technique is mainly used by scientists and researchers to analyse vegetation and wetlands, but applied to this video, it offers a chance to look past ‘plant blindness’ and see the forest through a different perspective. The human eye evolved to differentiate movement and depth against the green of the forest, and what has become an instinctive disregard for flora in favour of the potentially dangerous fauna has been called ‘plant blindness’. Here, the forest is never a background – it is the subject matter and focus of the film.

exhibition research
visual essay

Cambio – on Finnish forestry is an exhibition by Studio Formafantasma
photos: stillframes from the video shot by Jussi Hellsten