Tekla Gedeon, a Budapest-based architect and speculative designer, presents “a parallel virtual world which performs environmental guardianship” where you can become an avatar forester and restore balance.

WORDS BY THE AUTHOR / The Extended Forest is a vision for a new form of practice that radically rethinks how we might act as designers in our approach to the guardianship of the natural world. My work confronts urgent conflicts in the present through performance, action and long-term strategic thinking through virtual spaces and character design. The project promotes a multidisciplinary approach to forest management considering the need for biodiversity and cultural necessities.

The guardianship of our natural environment is a responsibility, which reaches beyond political borders, cultures and languages. Michael Meade, writer said that, ‘Climate crises came hand in hand with a mythological crisis.’ Mythology used to guide people in environmental protection through storytelling, performances and rituals. Today science struggles to influence the values and behaviour methods of our current society. The Extended Forest borrows from traditional character design techniques and storytelling methodologies to encourage generational conversations.

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The digital platform is an ever-evolving space for information where memories and narratives accumulate over time about forestry. The virtual world of the Extended Forest acts as a parallel civic space for thematic debates about forestry practices. Virtual platforms have the power to actively engage with people globally over time. It is a transforming medium to share and archive knowledge, data and personal stories. The platform operates in a forest time scale, over hundreds of years. It is designed to live longer than me in order to enable environmental discussions across generations, borders and cultures. It is an open-source, ever-evolving archive of forestry.

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The world is operated by the Guardians. The Guardians are artificial personalities and intelligences with specific agendas who inhabit the virtual environment. Their role is to curate and re-tell the gathered narratives. They exist as architectural elements and anthropomorphic characters. They are emerging design tools of guardianship with specific tones of voices.

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The architecture of the Extended Forest is a spatial language, which applies colour, texture, geometry and atmospheric qualities to establish a navigational system in an endless virtual void.

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BIO / Greta Tekla Gedeon is an architect, speculative designer, who creates spaces, objects and events that explore our relationship with nature and technology. Through the application of speculative design methodologies, her work challenges the role of ecological environments, industrial landscapes and botanical institutions. Her projects include digital artworks, animations, VR environments, performances, spatial installations, experimental gardens and events. Tekla studies and celebrates different forms of representation of nature.


ARTWORK / Greta Tekla Gedeon @tekla.gedeon

PERFORMERS / Sebastian Gschanes, Iman Datoo, Russell Royer, Chris Zhongtian Yuan, Alma Margot Sanne Hawker, Jumanah Najib Abdullah Bawazir, Sara Ibrahim, Sarah Ashley Devries, Pui Quan Choi, Audry Chan, James Hails