The Infinity Forest

Arts Partnership INSTAR have been awarded the Explore Essex Arts Commission 2020

INSTAR Arts Partnership

INSTAR, an arts partnership, have been awarded the Explore Essex Arts Commission 2020.

Created to raise public awareness about our environment and the Essex Forest Initiative, the Explore Essex Arts Commission will also examine people’s connection with the natural world through contemporary art.

INSTAR - a partnership featuring artists Trish Evans and Nick Humphreys - have previously worked with The Wildlife Trust, The National Forests and The National Trust. Their winning concept, ‘Infinity Forest’, will be an immersive experience using mirrored surfaces in the landscape.

The ‘Infinity Forest’ artwork will be launched in spring 2021 at Danbury Country Park this Spring 2021.

‘Infinity Forest’ will explore the themes of our natural environment, engage with members of the public and provide a positive legacy.

The artist commission is also part of the wider Essex Forest Initiative, which is Essex County Council’s commitment to planting 375,000 trees, covering approximately 150 hectares, throughout the county’s parks and green spaces over the next five years to capture 60,000 tonnes of carbon.

The Essex Forest Initiative - which launched in October 2019 - continues this season, with the first year’s target of 25,000 trees being planted this winter.

Read the Press Release here.

Find out more about INSTAR here and read their blog about the commission here.

Read on for our Q&A with INSTAR (Jan 2021).

Q: What is the actual concept for the commissioned artwork?

A: Our work is entitled ‘Infinity forest’ and is simply a large kaleidoscope sculpture. Where one would usually view a hand-held kaleidoscope looking down a tube of mirrors, our large-scale Infinity Forest art work will be standing upright, inviting audiences and visitors to view the interior reflections through hatches. At the centre of the kaleidoscope will be a single planted young tree (maybe a couple of years old so quite small), this tree will reflect many times over, creating a fresh new Infinity Forest of the future, which in turn reflects the ambition of the forest initiative.

Q: What are the steps, from concept to realisation?

A: We are at an exciting stage of our artwork development, transforming and scaling up our vision. Starting with small mirror tiles, with a sapling in its centre which we grew from an acorn collected from under the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, over time our model grew, the larger models helping us to work out the eventual scale. Working closely with the park staff, we are now researching the most suitable native tree to plant, ensuring that it is compatible with the Danbury Park habitat and soil type.

Alongside the structural plans of our artwork are our plans to adorn the facade of the piece. As artists this element is important and we are currently busy in our studio illustrating a number of artwork ideas taking inspiration from seasonal changes and traditional kaleidoscope art and imagery. Importantly we want our commission to feel at home and to connect with its surroundings whilst also engaging visitors in a stunning and curious way.

Q: Why did you choose Danbury Country Park for the placement?

A: Art and the natural sciences have a centuries old relationship, both utilising curiosity as a key that opens the door to endless possibilities. We always start our projects with a lot of research into the area where our work will be situated, this is then followed by site visits, during which we immerse ourselves in the local habitats, eco-systems and wildlife as well as communities. After visiting many Essex County Parks we were spoilt for choice, eventually settling on Danbury as we felt that the site had the maximum opportunity for the public to experience the piece.

INSTAR have been in search of the perfect tree to plant in the centre of the Infinity Forest sculpture. They chose a young Scots Pine tree. Watch the video here.