The research conducted in Logging investigates latent material possibilities within the medium of wood, by investigating material origins and the ethics of material consumption – two societal conditions that humans have increasingly become disconnected from.
ARC 592, Spring 2018
MArch – Material Culture
Its goal is to create a critical dialogue between humans and trees – two living creatures whose histories have been entangled since the origins of civilization.
As is commonly understood, wood, which originates from trees, has been one of the most popular building materials, alongside clay and stone, for thousands of years. The tree has been vital in all spheres of life: as provider of firewood and fruit, as protection from the elements, and later, as a building material. The destruction of forests by humans, in the face of climate change, calls upon us to consider the ecological impacts of our actions, and how best to use the raw materials at our disposal. The seminar research became enthralled with the rawness of the forest, and humans’ tendency to cannibalize this resource by transforming it into timber for use in the construction of space.
– Craig Brozowski, MArch
The students partook in numerous expeditions into the forest to rekindle the relationship between humans and trees. Through these deeply experiential interactions with trees (which often resulted in a combination of climbing, hugging, or speaking to the tree), each participant pondered the different methods in which the tree has contributed to our world. As these expeditions accrued, the tree was romanticized not as an abundant natural resource for consumption, but as a living creature with life-like attributes. Having observed the environment of the forest, students returned to embark on a process of tree-felling–the downing of an individual tree utilizing a hand-held ax. By felling-a-tree, a condition of nature was transformed into a condition of culture – the students experienced the death of a tree, the birth of timber, and more broadly, the origin of architecture.
After felling, students began to process the tree, dissect its parts, and uncover its strange behavior. They studied how most, if not all, of the cultural innovations surrounding the use of trees have been attempts to standardize and homogenize the material. As a counterpoint to this historical trend, the aim of Logging is to embrace the living, unpredictable, and eccentric features inherent to all trees.