Artwork

One of the biggest and most impactful projects of Mothership in recent years is the Bobbing Forest. The project was not based on an assignment, not a question from a company or a municipality, but on a conviction  and passion of Jeroen Everaert.

The Bobbing Forest originates from a work by artist Jorge Bakker (Columbia, 1973). His installation “In Search Of Habitus” consists of a water-filled aquarium with floats containing model trees. These floating miniature trees float loosely on and over the water and raise questions about the relationship between urban people and nature, and how they relate to each other and the world around them, now and in the future.

Jeroen Everaert was impressed and inspired by the work, and asked himself and Bakker whether it would be possible to implement the idea “in real life”. Mothership usually takes the position that nothing is impossible and that turned out to be the case here.

 

Concept

The Bobbing Forest symbolizes the future of people and nature in the city, which is under great pressure as a result of the rise in sea level. Innovation and sustainability play a major role in this concept. In Rotterdam, trees play an important role in making the city more sustainable and their presence contributes to the city’s climate ambitions and measures, such as combating heat through greenery and water collection.

The forest is largely produced sustainably, making use of existing materials. Twenty old sea buoys that used to float in the North Sea have been made suitable for carrying living trees. The trees, in turn, have been made available by the Municipality of Rotterdam, these trees had lost their permanent place due to relocation. Students from different schools have considered whether a tree, and if so which one, is suitable for a floating life. It turned out to be the Dutch elm. An additional task was the fact that the water in the Rijnhaven is brackish water. There is no tree in our region that can withstand this, so the trees must be watered with fresh water.

 

Role Mothership

Jeroen Everaert’s ambition to build the forest led to Mothership quickly gathering a number of partners for the project. Since floating trees had never been realised, thorough research was necessary.

After elaborating on the concept, Mothership was the key player within the project and led the research. This involved study programs such as Van Hall Larenstein, Erasmus University in Rotterdam and the Technical University in Delft, as well as companies such as the Port Authority and Rijkswaterstaat. Motherhood’s role guaranteed the artistic, substantive and aesthetic quality.

Mothership also organized the launch of the forest on National Tree Day, March 16, 2016. Jeroen Everaert and Jorge Bakker jointly carry out the operation. This event was attended by journalists from all over the world, sponsors and involved stakeholders. Various countries and television channels paid attention to the Bobbing Forest, for example the NOS 20 o’clock news, an extensive documentary on the WDR and recently a broadcast of the Ukrainian ICTV.

 

Added value

The Bobbing Forest attracts worldwide attention, from Italy to Scandinavia and from Iran to Korea. And appeared in news programmes all over the world. Not only because it is actually the first floating forest in the world, but also because its existence adequately draws attention to climate change and the rise in sea level.

The Forest is used as an example at various universities and colleges to educate about the function of green in urban areas, including in Quebec (USA), San Diego (USA) and Bristol (UK).

The project, which took perseverance and guts, is a calling card for the city of Rotterdam when it comes to awareness of the future. The presence of the Bobbing Forest in the middle of the city demands attention for current problems such as the rising sea levels and the quality of life in cities. The ‘Bobbing Forest’ is therefore not only a new experience for the city residents, young and old, but also a new attraction for the tourists who know how to find Rotterdam on an increasingly large scale. Experiencing art and enjoying greenery go hand in hand in a very special way.

The Bobbing Forest is pre-eminently a project to which Mothership’s motto “the power of art is communication” applies.

 

Quotes

“Can I finally walk my seal!”

“Bobbing Forest in the Rijnhaven. It always seems impossible until it´s done ”

“We’re loving the bobbing forest in Rotterdam. Such a creative use of old sea buoys ”

“The plan is for the trees to live out there for 5-10 years, busily absorbing CO2. It is believed that in just their first year they compensated for 1000km of car journeys, with their absorption rate increasing each year. ”

“An incredible project – and what a sight!”

In de media

Bobbing Forest


LocationRijnhaven, Rotterdam Goalto draw attention to climate change and sea level risePartnersCitylab 010 , Rijkswaterstaat, Hogeschool Rotterdam, Groenbedrijf GKB, Municipality of Rotterdam, Hogeschool Van Hall Larenstein, Hogeschool Rotterdam, TU Delft, Mercon Year2016Websitedobberendbos.nl

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