Environmental Identities #3: Dinner in the Forest Garden

A performative event by Niina Tervo and Youngeun Sohn 

6 September 2020, starting at 18:00 CEST - livestreamed via Zoom (password: 666) and YouTube


The Jan van Eyck Academie invites you to follow a live-stream of the performative event Dinner in the Forest Garden, conceived by artists in residence Niina Tervo and Youngeun Sohn. The event, taking place in the Jan van Eyck Academie’s garden, will gather a group of participants around a series of edible sculptures made by Niina Tervo. Their interactions, with the sculptures and each other, will be filmed and live-streamed through a video-setting devised by Youngeun Sohn.

The experiencing of the edible sculptures outside, gives continuity to Tervo’s interest in how the inside of our bodies relate to the outer-world. In the event, food is approached as a means to connect human bodies to the natural cycles of matter and energy, and as a link between the human brain and the intestines. The artist has been interested in scientific research on the nature of energy as a part of the human body and consciousness, and on the influence of the gut microbiome in brain chemistry and behavioral phenomena, thus affecting our thinking process and emotions. By allowing for the interaction with and the ingestion of her sculptures Tervo unsettles the prevailing body-mind dichotomy, and the understanding of oneself as a self-contained system.

The event’s live-stream is part of Sohn’s artistic intervention, which uses Zoom not only as a platform to stream the happening, but also as a video-making tool. The artist allows the sequence of streamed images to be defined by Zoom’s standard configuration which automatically changes from camera to camera according to the different sounds it captures. The unpredictable stream of images, and the different perspectives it offers on the unfolding actions in the event, accentuate how our everyday activities are widely disseminated virtually, while their perception is strongly mediated by a set of algorithms and software.

Niina Tervo and Youngeun Sohn devise a framework for an open-ended event that untangles our modes and devices for perceiving, interacting and communicating with (human and non-human) others and with our surroundings. An event that also explores the tensions between the mundane and the performative, the scripted and the spontaneous, and between bodily interaction and virtual perception.

Dinner in the Forest Garden is part of the Environmental Identities series, a sequence of public conversations, screenings and other online and offline events, which pursuit a multi-layered understanding of the co-defining relation between self- and social identity and the natural environment.





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