an audio journey by Una Hamilton Helle & Lotte Brown - Becoming the Forest
Mud, metal, researchers lost again, symbiosis and apocalypses, birds, mushrooms, folklore, the true genius loci, animist wisdoms, and maybe a moose. An audio journey of a trip gone wrong and an exploration of the latest Becoming the Forest zine.
Becoming the Forest is an open-ended publication and project which looks at our relationship to our surroundings, with a specific focus on the Northern hemisphere’s abundance of dense spruce forests, and how the aesthetic and philosophy of the musical subculture of black metal has become entangled with this topography. The foundation of this sonic experience is the latest and fourth edition of Becoming the Forest zine. This edition holds specially commissioned essays, interviews, and illustrations, by animists, philosophers, artists, and musicians, including an essay on panpsychism as a possible answer to the climate crisis; a philosophical-historical overview of the relationship between black metal and the forest; Researchers a Cliffhanger: a magical-realist account of a sylvan trip gone wrong, and an in-depth interview with Rune from Nordic Animism, whose project looks to Scandinavian folklore and customs for “hidden animist knowledge”. The symbolism of the primstav (a calendar staff used by the agricultural societies of old Scandinavia), runs through the issue. Its seasonally-based, cyclical view of time hints towards a worldview that was embedded in its environment, and which placed man as part of - and at the mercy of- nature, rather than above it.
Becoming the Forest is published by Het Bos, with the support of Arts Council Norway.
Una Hamilton Helle is an artist who is interested in how our environment shapes us and vice versa. She first made work as Becoming the Forest in 2010, a project which since has taken the form of exhibitions, gigs, mix tapes, performances, talks, and sound works around ecology and metal.
Lotte Brown is a writer and researcher traveling the land. Lotte published poems, essays and stories of all sorts in De Revisor, Tirade, Deus Ex Machina, De Gids/ De Groene Amsterdammer, publications of Het Bos, and elsewhere.