Holding driftwood tree discs, is like holding the key to a saga. Driftwood tells the alarming story of our climate crisis, through it’s archive of ‘living data’. The colours, smell and touch of driftwood differ depending on the tree’s species. The numbers and shapes of the tree’s rings are keyholes to its past. The lighter rings grew during spring and summer, the darker rings in fall and winter, together they mark one year in the tree’s life. Trees can live for hundreds and sometimes even for thousands of years. The rings’ shapes indicate wet, dry, cold and hot years, early frosts, forest fires and much more.
When trees become driftwood, the archive of their former living conditions remains intact. The driftwood we will be collecting, travels for several years and thousands of kilometers from Siberia until it reaches the shores of Iceland. Driftwood is an inherent part of Icelandic history and culture and particularly suitable to explain climate change data, as it contains detailed climate records as well as information on changing oceanic currents, sea ice and sea levels. Driftwood also reminds us of one of the tools we have to fight climate change: afforestation.
Rekaviður is an educational research project on climate change through the eyes of the journey of driftwood, as well as a call to action for greater awareness of climate change and how we can prevent further damage. It was initially conceived by Kollektiv Lichtung, to be developed in partnership with NES Artist Residency in Skagaströnd, Iceland.