Rattan Eco Sprawl: Manifesting the Forest
Coming soon in 2024!
Zen Teh in collaboration with Ecologist Dr Chua Siew Chin
Rattan, wood, tropical plants for forest restoration
"Rattan Eco Sprawl: Manifesting the Forest" nestles in the lush greenery of a quiet spot in the neighbourhood. Constructed primarily from rattan, its wavy forms weave in elements from the natural world including mountains and mounds where insects’ dwell. Such formations have also inspired sacred monuments like the Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Mirroring the atmosphere of reverence when entering similar spaces, the lowered ceilings and narrowed passageways of Rattan Eco Sprawl impel visitors to navigate the enclosed space with care. Live plants encroach its exterior, furnished with selected species also found in the adjacent forest. Witnessed here is the same jostle between natural and manmade elements in the area: tree roots pushing their way through concrete pavements, destabilising fences and bollards, etc., as if nature is attempting to reclaim its territory.
"Rattan Eco Sprawl" reflects on this entanglement of nature and urban development against the backdrop of a fast-changing Singapore landscape while extending the ecological network of the existing forest. While the forest remains partially earmarked for the development of a new MRT station, the work serves as a vessel for sonic encounters, embracing both manmade noise and the serenades of nature.
Through engagements with rattan and wood artisans, an ecologist, and nonhuman residents, Rattan Eco Sprawl acknowledges the fragile, intertwined relationship that we share with nature, driving a collaborative need to bring old and new knowledges together for a sustainable future.