"Into the Forest"—an immersive computer game, is unveiled as a part of the Wald exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Kassel. This captivating experience emerged from the Ecoquest workshop, a dynamic collaboration between the University of Kassel, documenta Institut, and the Natural History Museum in September 2023.
As we step into an era where almost half of the global population, including a diverse demographic in Germany with an average age of 38, engages with video games, we pose a crucial question: Can gaming serve as a platform for promoting awareness about environmental problems and their solutions in a more engaging and less didactic manner, avoiding excessive moralization and potential off-putting effects?
A 5-days intensive workshop was conceived and organized by Prof. Mi You und Yulia Gromova of the Art and Economies Department of Uni Kassel/documenta Institute. During the workshop participants gained insight into current artistic research on forests and learned how to craft captivating narratives using cutting-edge technologies like photogrammetry, remote sensing data, and 3D scanning. Under advice from Naturkundemuseum Kassel's director, Prof. Dr. Kai Füldner, along with multimedia artist Artem Konevskih and Dr. Tamara Bodden, participants undertook a research trip to the local forest. During this expedition, they actively gathered both data and narratives, enriching their understanding of the subject matter. The group was also joined by Marine Lemarié and Nicolas Stephan from Distant Realities, who work on prototyping a carbon sink modeling software, based on publicly available remote sensing and carbon data.