The seeds have been sown

and notes on watering.

Hello, welcome to the second digest from the Forest Portal 🌱

A place for sharing occasional updates and musings on the growing project ‘Conversations with the Forest’.


👣 Sunday 10 October 4pm | Listening to place. Listening to Time

Join artist Merinda Davies and Indigenous Ranger Justine Dillon on a walk through Surfers Paradise, Kombumerri Country where you will experience reflections and future imaginings of place through sensory interactions, seed collecting, conversation and listening practices.

We will visit some of the few remnant rainforest trees left. Using microphones and devices we will listen to the trees and experience the city soundscape from other beings' perspectives, along the way learning about native plants on the streetscapes and imagining what Surfers Paradise will smell, sound, look and feel like in 100 years time.

Book me in

🌱 Saturday 16 October & Thursday 21 October | Making paper from plants

Using weeds, plant matter, fern spores and recycled paper join artist Merinda Davies to learn how to remake paper. After the workshop you can take the paper home and/or contribute it to the forest where you will be invited to use some of the paper to write a love letter to the forest that will be delivered to the trees on a future date via the ferns, fungi and microbes.

Book me in

🐝 Friday 29 October 5:30pm | Native Bee Keeping

Join Native Bee Keeper, Kombumerri Traditional Owner Max Dillon and Anangnu Man, Wildlife Educator Ben Brown to learn about the native bees that will help support the forest. And what plants you can put in your backyard or balcony to invite local native bees to make a home.

Book me in

👀 28-29 October | Open Studio last days

As the residency in Cavill Lane comes to a close at the end of October, I am opening the studio for the final 2 days to share the work in progress. Stop by for a cuppa, listen in to field recordings, leave a voice message for the forest and have a conversation about where to next.

The studio will be open for drop-in at 8-04 Cavill Lane, Surfers Paradise - Thursday 28th, 12-7pm and Friday 29th 5:30-8pm.


Notes on watering

I have been thinking about the action of watering the forest, an action so simple and somehow radical, mystical, artificial and organic at the same time. Each morning when I come into the studio the first hour or so is consumed by this process. Because I have temporarily taken over an empty shop space in Surfers, there is no water access set up, so I walk across to the nearest tap in the cleaners room, filling up a 15 litre water bottle, this then gets transferred into a 2 litre pressure spray pump. It’s important that it is sprayed so as not to disturb the seeds and soil, a replication of rain falling through a canopy. In watering the forest I wet down the leaves, soak the trunks, douse the fern furs this action embodies the relationship of care, observance and listening. While the forest is growing indoors there is a reliance on me to keep the trees alive in this artificial landscape. During the watering process my mind slips into a meditative state of deep observance, what has changed since yesterday, a new translucent leaf, an extra few millimetres of trunk, the scent of damp soil, mycelium forming below the surface, this also gives me space and time to consider my own internal and external shifts. My practice and state of being is remoulding through this process, while I am working with the forest it is also working on me.

I wanted to share a couple of reactions from the public walking past. One man read the statement on the wall and proceeded to yell out; “Conversations with the forest! That’s bloody great!” I am 100 percent here for this type of excitement about ecological restoration.

Because it’s been school holidays there has been a lot of families walking past a few kids have read out the question I have up on the wall to their parents; “what will surfers look like, smell, sound and feel like in 100 years?” Hearing this question read out loud by a kid really gives it the context of horror and hope that it holds simultaneously.

In process this week:

📖 Reading: Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things by Jane Bennett

👂 Listening: podcast by Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab & this album by Mette Henriette

🌱 Propagating: Blue Lilly Pilly, Peanut Tree, Brown Kurrajong, Cheese Tree.

👁 News: Blank Street Press article

Asking: How does the forest think?

‘Conversations with the Forest’ is being developed with GENERATE GC, an initiative of City of Gold Coast in partnership with Situate Art in Festivals (TasDance), and is proudly supported by City of Gold Coast RADF, Cavill Lane Surfers Paradise and Creative Partnerships Australia MATCH Lab.