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People cross a bridge set up around trees at night. A large glowing planet is visible in the centre.

AUB students exhibit alongside Luke Jerram’s Gaia at Moors Valley Country Park


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Students from Arts University Bournemouth’s Graphic Design and Interior Architecture and Design courses have exhibited a futuristic and immersive installation at Moors Valley Country Park.

Presented as part of Inside Out Dorset, Activate Performing Art’s international outdoor festival, Future Forest has showcased the work of students from across AUB, as well as hosting immersive experience projects by Senior Lecturer Ed Ward and AUB Coder-in-Residence Ashley James Brown.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design students Grace Reeves, Ciara Sevior, Toby Rivett and Mia Erwig designed the Future Forest brand identity, alongside BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design student Tom Pritchard, who built the installation. Future Forest explores an ethical and annotated response to the forest context, enhancing the experience for visitors to Moors Valley Country Park, as they visited Luke Jerram’s Gaia installation.

From augmented reality eco-poetry trails to interactive concepts centring on the ‘wood wide web’, which looks at how trees communicate, the project has also addressed practical considerations and ideas around wayfinding; using mythology and gamification to connect people to nature.

AUB Interior Architecture and Design students used Future Forest to explore themes of ecology and sustainability within the period of the Anthropocene, subsequently developing speculative, temporary engagement experiences across the landscape of Moors Valley Country Park.

Ashley James Brown, an artist, developer and AUB’s Coder-in-Residence also exhibited his work as part of the Festival. HeartWood is a site-specific interactive audio-visual installation which uses ultrasonic sound to produce a haptic effect whereby users feel sensations through their hands, feeling the beating heart of a tree.

Ashley’s work explores a speculative future hybrid between machines and the real world and aims to highlight the importance of tress and bridge the disconnection between the natural world and current ecological and unsustainable behaviours.

Alice Stevens, AUB Human Founder, said: “‘It has been a pleasure to work with Activate Performing Arts, who have enabled us to present the Future Forest project as part of Inside Out Dorset Festival.

“The presentation of the Future Forest exhibition by AUB Human demonstrates an exciting and fulfilling collaboration between multiple partners including industry, AUB staff and students as well as AUB Coder-In-Residence Ashley James Brown.”

She added: “AUB’s Innovation Studio provided specialist equipment which was used in the installation. Thanks must also go to the Forestry Commission for enabling us to showcase our work in such a magnificent location at Moors Valley Country Park and enable the public to engage with our work at AUB.”

The installation played host to student work exhibited across eight small screens, with embedded polycarbonate cubes derived from fractal forms found within crystal structures, with BA (Hons) Graphic Design students Grace Reeves, Ciara Sevior, Toby Rivett and Mia Erwig, designing the project’s brand identity.

Created by Edward Ward, Senior Lecturer in Interior Architecture and Design, the immersive installation was developed in collaboration with BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design student Tom Pritchard.

The result is an experimentation of materials and fabrication methods that marries the formwork and qualities of Bismuth crystals with the geometry being defined algorithmically using the Wasp plugin for Grasshopper3D.

Tom said: “As a student on the Interior Architecture and Design course, the work we produce remains speculative, so being presented with an opportunity to be a part of the Future Forest design and build team allowed me to put skills I have learned into a real-world project. It’s been an experience I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.”

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