Eternal Forest Manifesto and Vision

Eternal Forest Coruche at Herdade dos Concelhos

Eternal Forest Coruche is an artistic investigation and vision, commissioned by the Bienal de Coruche 2019, to be presented during the opening of Bienal on 28th and 29th of September. Eternal Forest questions our relationship with time and nature’s cycles. It is a poetic, sound and visual manifesto, as well as a site-specific poetic forest experience at Herdade dos Concelhos.

Eternal Forest Manifesto, 2019

Herdade dos Concelhos is a special place with rich layers of history, ecology and biodiversity. It is a place with the potential to become an inspiration for the whole community. Walking Herdade dos Concelhos is like reading a book written in a language of humans and of the forest. 

Eternal Forest Coruche proposes establishing an area of forest as an artwork and a sanctuary to benefit both humans and nature. It will be a designed, protected space with no harvesting of forest resources for at least 100 years. It will introduce 'supportive' species of wild grasses, herbs, flowers and trees, which will enable a regeneration of a larger biodiverse system. It will be a space designed for human enjoyment, a landmark artwork for experiencing biodiversity far into the future. Eternal Forest Coruche is a vision for a long-term site-specific artwork, which can be realised with the support of the Municipality of Coruche, the local community and partners.

Map Eternal Forest Coruche, 2019

The design and creation of Eternal Forest is proposed as an on-going collaborative work between artists, a scientist, a forest expert, an ecosystem restoration expert and people working on reforestation - to help understand the cycles of nature, the effect of climate change on the forest ecosystem and biodiversity. Eternal Forest also proposes involving the local community into the design process and its co-creation.

In the coming years, in agreement with Bienal de Coruche, artists can apply to create a site-specific work within the Eternal Forest Coruche and use this ongoing project as inspiration, and as a reference point linking them to nature and contributing to Eternal Forest's artistic continuity. Artists will be invited to stay for a few days at a time at Herdade dos Concelhos, walk the land, connect with the cycles of night and day, observe a particular time of the year and co-create with and within the evolving Eternal Forest. Eternal Forest manifesto, the artist’s book of poetry and writing, a copy of the film, and reference materials will be kept at the Municipal Museum of Coruche for future artists’ inspiration.

Eternal Forest Manifesto and Vision Book, 2019

Eternal Forest Manifesto and Vision Book, 2019

Eternal Forest Coruche is intended as a model for Eternal Forest artistic interventions around Europe and throughout the world. In every location Eternal Forest can have a different artistic expression connected with the local ecological and cultural landscape always, however, preserving the vision of Eternal Forest as an artwork, a sanctuary rather than land for ‘production’.

An Invitation to the community of Coruche

This is an open invitation for all to enter the circle of guardians of Eternal Forest Coruche a sanctuary for biodiversity, humans and art at Herdade dos Concelhos.

Eternal Forest is a vision developed over many years which crystalised during an art residency in Coruche. Eternal Forest is a dream to create 1000 forest sanctuaries across Europe, ensuring their preservation for 1000 years. Eternal Forest Coruche hopes to bring about the first sanctuary which will then be followed by many others in Portugal and across Europe.

What is Eternal Forest sanctuary?

An Eternal Forest sanctuary is a place where nature is allowed to be, where all beings are welcome – wildflowers, plants, bees, forest animals and us, humans. Starting from exhausted or over managed land, Eternal Forest sanctuary slowly restores its balance, returning to a natural state of flow and change. Eternal Forest is designed to enable humans to connect with nature while allowing them to observe this process – the seasons, the cycles of life and death, and the cycles of water, as each repeat and as nature renews itself.

We experience it, but we do not take from Eternal Forest. We do not harvest it, we just let it be and enjoy the experience of being in true biodiversity, in a truly wild forest. In time, great trees will rise. At times calamities and diseases might occur, but should we perhaps trust nature and let it restore itself and rejuvenate on its own?

At the start, perhaps a careful intervention will be required to support the regeneration of biodiversity and the health of the ecosystem. Eternal Forest will require our protection. 1000 years is many human generations – forest time is different from ours. Eternal Forest is an invitation to dream of growing a deep forest, to experience a deeper sense of time. 
Eternal Forest sanctuary is the time and space for us to be with ourselves, away from everyday activities. It is the time and space to be quiet, to be still, to observe, to tune into the forest, to tune into its wisdom and to let ourselves be taken into its flow. It is the time and space for us to recover and restore, to open our senses and connect our lives with that of the forest.

Eternal Forest sanctuary, Herdade dos Concelhos, Coruche, 2019
Why is this necessary now and in the future?

We live in a time of crisis, a crisis of biodiversity and climate change, a crisis of our culture, a time where each of us needs to carefully consider how we are contributing to co-creating a harmonious existence with our life and our work.

Eternal Forest art project builds awareness of the beauty and the deep impact a biodiverse forest and nature can have on our lives but also aims to create beautiful natural spaces, which positively contribute to local biodiversity.

Eternal Forest considers the human need for time and space for contemplation, for regeneration in natural time and space distant from everyday life. Eternal Forest, through an artistic vision, creates such space, which helps us reconnect with our inner, quiet centres in a fast-changing and tumultuous world.

What does it mean to be a guardian?

Eternal Forest invites the local community to be a guardian of the sanctuary, participating in its creation and supporting its emergence. Eternal Forest contributes to the community’s wellbeing, education, art, creativity, long-term ecological thinking and raising awareness about the deep and intricate reciprocity we have with the biodiversity on this planet.

Being a guardian means first and foremost making time to come to the Eternal Forest. Let yourself observe nature’s cycles, contemplate life and fall in love with the place, the trees, the flowers and all the beings that inhabit it.

Being a guardian means expanding one’s capacity to imagine how to care for Eternal Forest in the long term. It means thinking about how to support its biodiversity and to bring others with you, because you cannot do it on your own.

Eternal Forest sanctuary, Herdade dos Concelhos, Coruche, 2019

How can we achieve this together?

Find your way to Eternal Forest. Do it on your own. Walk around it. Sit down. Look. Listen. Observe. Take it in. Hear its message.

Bring a friend and walk together in silence. Walk the path together. Be still together. Share the experience of being in Eternal Forest together.

Come again and again, alone or with someone else. Bring others. Encourage them to come alone some time. Come in a group. Hear the messages of Eternal Forest. Share your stories.

Come with a group of friends. Stay a while. Sit down on the ground. Form a circle inside Eternal Forest. Share stories. Share ideas. Remember the messages of Eternal Forest. Speak from the perspective of your future great-grandchildren. Share their vision. What would they want to see here in one hundred years, in two, or five hundred years?

Be someone who brings everyone together. Make a circle. Sit in silence and speak one by one. Hear everyone. See what emerges. See how you can work together. Be supported by Eternal Forest.

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