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Photographs of rainforests dissolving in acid strike a beautiful note of warning

The world has lost some 11 per cent of its tree cover since 2000, mainly due to agricultural expansion and wildfires. This shrinking is especially alarming given forests’ vital role in removing carbon from the atmosphere, which helps to curb climate change, and in maintaining biodiversity, which can help to prevent future pandemics. In Deforest, Grayson Cooke, an artist and associate professor of media at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia, explores deforestation in a beautiful yet distressing work of audiovisual art. A series of monochromatic photographs of an old-growth rainforest in subtropical Queensland are dissolved in a corrosive sulphuric acid bath, serving as a visual metaphor for our destruction of nature. As these images are erased, sounds from the forest’s animal life mingle with a somber piano score, creating a powerful reflection on how humanity burns the past to fuel the present at its own peril.

Director: Grayson Cooke

21 June 2022

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