A Forest of Lines by Pierre Huyghe is a space that brings together the sacred and the profane. The space blurs boundaries, eliminating the separation between the audience and the art where they can become the performance as they explore the constructed forest in the theatre made of a thousand real trees, inside the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House. Thus turning one of the most urban places in the world into a wilderness, converting a space in a way, which seems exceptionally impossible and altogether remarkable.
A place between fiction and fact
Paths meander through the trees, mist brings a sense of mystic as you wonder the magical and listen to the story that brings the enchantment to life. This is a space of representation, in which an environment has been transplanted, and becomes a liminal place that is somewhere between nature and urban, a place that lays somewhere in between fiction and fact. Forests are often the sites of fairy tales and legends; they are places of amazement and sometimes fear.
Nature versus culture
There is something profoundly sensational about the opera, it is the epitome of culture, and furthermore, the Sydney Opera House is internationally known for its architecture and aesthetics. Thus by constructing a forest in a place that represents culture, humanism, and progress, the Cartesian dualism1 of nature versus culture is completely overridden.
This revolutionary piece demonstrates the mediation of binaries while taking the audience into a different world of the wilderness inside. The melody is written by Laura Marling especially for Pierre Huyghes’ performance, the lyrics literally indicate how to get outside the Opera House and go somewhere else. Visitors to this installation wandered through the glorious forest, and some even set up picnics in the installation, using the space as they would a park. This space was open for 24 hours, and within that short time, audience members were given the opportunity to explore a world that can be described as only a dream.