KuvA Research Days 2021, Day 1. A certain habitat gives rise to certain behaviour. More specifically, it denies or promotes certain actions.
Habitats are designed and inhabited by different entities with different agendas. The entities are embedded in hierarchies. These hierarchies determine which entities control other entities in the habitat. This implies that designing a habitat is a political action, while it might only reflect existing hierarchies.
A good example is Haussmann’s Paris, that was designed for sanitary reasons to be spacious and wide, while it might also have been designed that way to be easier to attack with military and harder to defend by dissidents as a result of the Revolution of 1848.
While this is all within the human domain, it has influences on other-than-humans, too. I am not sure whether similar political actions have been researched outside of the human domain.
The beech tree builds an exclusive society. With its dense canopy groups of beeches suppress undergrowth and the germination of other tree species, the decay of the fallen leaves create a humus that is rich in tannins that further exclude the growth of other species safe beeches.
It would be interesting if beeches also exclude other beeches…
Beech forests can be considered the final step of colonization by flowering plants with wooden stalks. After that nothing much happens. If undisturbed by humans and climate, they can persist for very long time. A stable situation. But very exclusive. Like Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin.
This would not have been possible without birch trees. These are the pioneers, that consolidate fallow and enrich it with nutritions; they build a structure, they build a community, they give rise to possibilities, and they are quick to give space to others.
What are the politics of the different tree species that built forests, projected into deep time? It is obvious that they negotiate, and not only trees, fungi, soil inhabitants, insects, animals, bacteria protozoa are all negotiating within the parliament of forest, and they design their own habitat. Trees are like coral reefs. Are the cities of humans like coral reefs too?
Jan Glöckner, doctoral candidate, Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts
KuvA research activities
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