Conversations with the Forest — A living, breathing and growing artwork

“A tree can only be as strong as the forest that surrounds it” (Peter Wohlleben)

                Conversations with the Forest - Surfers Paradise invites us to help grow a micro-forest in Surfers Paradise on Kombumerri land. Using plant species native to the region, the forest will become a ‘paradise’ people can enjoy in Surfers. A soundscape created for the forest will filter through speakers –  tones and sounds similar to the electric pulse language of the trees. The work asks us to think about how we regard and communicate with forests and trees, and to consider a future where plants are our equals.

‘Survival increases when saplings are embedded within the human social network. A tree planted by it’s human neighbors will live longer than one placed by an anonymous contractor. A street tree that is granted personhood and membership, one that is noticed, loved and given identity and history, lives longer than a municipal object arriving with no context and living with no collaborators’ (David George Haskell) 

We will collaborate with the ferns, the fungi and the trees we will build a network to support the forest. Forest Agents are invited to work with the artistic team to help grow the forest. You can be a Forest Agent on the ground or in the digital realm. 

‘Not being open to consider the very nature of our reasoning and assumptions regarding the relationship between brains and memories leaves us no space to seek other possibilities’ (Monica Gagliano) 


Merinda Davies - Artist

Justine Dillon - Indigenous Ranger & Kombumerri Traditional Owner

Monica Gagliano - Researcher - plant bioacoustics and cognition

‘It is through the unlearning that we can take those first steps away from objectifying plants and realise that recognising their subjectivity and inherent worth and dignity does not diminish our own but rather enriches it.’ (Monica Gagliano)