Katie Paterson's To Burn, Forest, Fire uses scent to explore the first-ever forest on Earth, and the last forest in the age of the climate crisis. The artwork employs the senses to cultivate an intimate, intuitive experience that aims to transport participants through time as a reminder of the increasing levels of extinction caused by humanity
These past and future environments have been translated into incense, in collaboration with Japanese perfumers and incense makers Shoyeido.
The first incense depicts Earth’s first forest is thought to have grown in modern-day Cairo, New York State, 385 million years ago. Discovered through fossilised root systems containing three types of ancient plant species, including Archaeopteris.
The second incense stick recreates the scent of a living forest biome that is acutely endangered, and has become an emblem of the ongoing ecological crisis: the Amazon Rainforest.
Paterson casts our imagination back into the deep history of plant life, loss, devastation and regrowth.
In this special staging at Talbot Rice Gallery To Burn, Forest, Fire, will observe planetary wildfire in real time.
Working with university wildfire experts Rory Hadden and Sergio Vargas Córdoba, an electronic alert has been created to record all major wildfire using satellites orbiting Earth. To Burn, Forest, Fire incense ceremonies will be held on every day at 3pm throughout the exhibition where a wildfire with a radiative power of 1000mw is taking place somewhere on Earth.