Open Forest is a participatory artwork performing an experimental inquiry into different forests and forest data-sets. The work consists of a series of interactive installations, performative actions and speculative research instruments exploring forest data flows and rearranging relationships among entities such as scientists, citizens, sensors, environmental data, climate change and trees in forests. One aim is to expand the landscape, in which stories about such entities can be told and care about them enacted.
As a participatory project, Open Forest is premised upon direct public engagement, offering several entryways into and levels of participation with the work: exploring various forests and diverse data through engagement with interactive installations; co-creating new forest data-sets and stories; and participating in creative workshop-style events. Open Forest is distributed internationally. Right now, the creative work and research are situated in Helsinki (FIN) facilitated by designers and researchers from Aalto University and in Melbourne (AU) where it is facilitated by designers and researchers from RMIT University, focusing specifically on open data generated within a local urban forest. In Finland, Open Forest utilises open data from the SMEAR station in Hyytiälä, a historical forestry station in Juupajoki (Helsinki University). Drawing on the SMEAR research data and a series of collected stories about the forest that are narrated from the diverse perspectives of local scientists, visitors and trees, we are now creating a series of speculative conversational devices.