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Ancient trees of Epping Forest will be conjured in the heart of the City in a sound and projection installation by Matthew Rosier. Over millennia, Epping Forest provided London with wood for its fires, and in return we nurtured its trees for the next generation. The biodiverse woodland that emerged from this relationship was one dominated by Oak, Beech and Hornbeam. Many of these trees were pollarded, their branches chopped back periodically to provide a renewable crop of firewood, and extend the life of the tree. The fantastical forms of Epping’s pollards today are the result of hundreds of human hands over hundreds of years.

The installation will feature lifesize fire-lit video portraits of ancient Oak, Beech and Hornbeam pollards, projected onto the tower of St Mary Aldermary Church. Each projection will be accompanied by a unique musical score by NYX and Laura Misch, recorded in Epping Forest, and transformed into an immersive soundscape by James Bulley.

The project seeks to raise awareness of the symbiotic relationship that has always existed between humans and forests in England. Its opening will coincide with COP26 in Glasgow in order to highlight the value of productive, truly sustainable and biodiverse forestry in addressing climate change and restoring our woodland habitat. To this end, a series of five videos have been made documenting the process of making the project, exploring the history of Epping Forest, and the future of forestry in the UK.

Learn about the making of City of Trees