Whose woods these are, I think I know — or do I?
Some 90 percent of Brazil’s Atlantic tropical forest has been lost. Instead, huge eucalyptus plantations have now aggressively taken over the land, demanding hectare after hectare of land and enormous amounts of water. The pesticides used in eucalyptus cultivation are poisoning insects, plants, and animals in the area alike.
Eucalyptus plantations that have been planted for an industrial purpose are called killer forests — not only because they destroy and override other species in their vicinity, but also as a major fire hazard. Heat and dryness make the oil contained in the trees to flame up, and a densely growing eucalyptus forest is especially prone to being ignited. Devastating wildfires have become more common on nearly all continents as the climate continues to change.
The investors in the killer forests include Nordic forest industry giants, such as Stora Enso — a forest product company co-owned by the Finnish state. The material for Killer Forest has been collected in southern Bahia, which is home to, e.g. the Pataxó indigenous people, and where the corporation Veracel, co-owned by Stora Enso, maintains a eucalyptus plantation of 100,000 hectares.
The views on eucalyptus cultivation are diverse. Whereas Rodrigo Mãdy Pataxó of the Pataxó people calls such an individual plantation “a killer forest, a ghost”, Stora Enso insists that their actions promote biodiversity.
Killer Forest is an audiovisual installation by journalist-researcher Ingrid Fadnes and photographer-filmmaker Fábio Nascimento. The installation is an invitation to step inside a eucalyptus plantation. The Baltic Circle festival programme also includes the artist duo’s documentary film MATA.
Ingrid Fadnes is a Norwegian journalist and researcher who has followed political occurrences in Latin America for more than a decade, especially surrounding the conflicts between agriculture and indigenous peoples. She has made several radio documentaries about Latin America, as well as about Norway and the Sápmi region.
Fábio Nascimento is a Brazilian documentary photographer and filmmaker focused on misrepresented stories in the intersection between humans, nature and science. He has worked for e.g. National Geographic, Greenpeace, Doctors Without Borders, The New York Times and BBC.
The installation is supported by the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Foundation