For their first permanent artwork, Larry Achiampong and David Blandy engaged in conversations with UCL academics and responded to the landscape surrounding the new UCL East campus. They have created a hyper-real installation inspired by 3D video gaming and their time spent between the natural and virtual realms. The work was conceived during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it reflects on a time of collective re-discovery of nature as a source of healing and wellbeing, whilst simultaneously highlighting inequalities that exist in access to green spaces.
The film was shot on location in Epping Forest, which once stretched down to Romford Road. Local people helped save the forest from destruction in the1870s, preserving it for future generations. In the film, we follow Achiampong’s son (an east London resident) as he marvels at a huge, ancient oak tree. His presence deliberately challenges racist ideas about who belongs in the English countryside, reclaiming it as a space for everyone.
The artwork is a meditation on our relationship to nature: vital to our wellbeing but inevitably reduced by urban development. Trēow of Time expands investigations into anthropology, science fiction, and the virtual, offering a vision of the place we find ourselves in, yet pointing towards a better world. The work suggests that the rewilding of the world is inevitable. Achiampong and Blandy sought to reflect how nature can reveal a different relationship with our senses and our bodies, how shifting scale can modify our sense of connection to the natural world, revealing co-dependency as key to forming a new paradigm. Additionally, by reflecting on the places where we find and lose our selves, in the forest of nature and the virtual forest of free-roaming sandbox videogames.
Stills from: Trēow of Time, Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, 2023