The Forest answers tapestry

The Forest answers tapestry, an artwork by Kustaa Saksi was hung permanently in the canteen of the new main building of the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station on September 2023.

The large work is present in the station's everyday life in its most important space, the canteen of the new main building of the forestry station, where the station staff, students and visiting researchers meet on a daily basis. The building was designed by Rudanko+Kankkunen Architects.

“Forest responds” is part of permanent Periferia exhibition at Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station and under the Climatewhirlart program by INAR at University of Helsinki. The exhibition is curated by Ulla Taipale. The artwork is funded by Kordelinin säätiö. The new main building of Hyytiälä Station is designed by Architects Rudanko+Kankkunen,

The artist describes his work as follows:

”Our existence is in danger due to the loss of the Earth's forests. How we relate to trees, forests and their habitats determines our future. I am interested in the similarity between the structures of human neural networks and trees and how they build functional, complex communication networks similar to each other.

Trees have been called world tree or tree of life, and some world tree mythologies describe the birth of the world, where the Milky Way is seen as a big tree. A tree has also determined the fate of people - what happened to a tree also happened to a person. A growing tree means good luck and prosperity, cutting it bad luck. The symbiosis of trees and humans determines our existence also in the light of current knowledge: forests bind carbon dioxide and produce oxygen necessary for life.

Although trees do not have neurons, they can build communication networks. Studies show that trees use mechanisms that are consistent with the information processing of a neural network and the transmission of information in forests resembles the communication between neurons in the brain. Scientists have identified communication between plants, even though they do not have neurons, synapses or brains.

In this artwork, the structures of the tree and the neural networks are visually intertwined, and I explore them rather poetically than scientifically, as if bringing the structures of trees and nature into our intellectual 'consciousness'. I have drawn inspiration from literature and drawings of neural networks and structures by the Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934). The result is a collage, a breathing communication network constructed from combinations of natural forms and neural networks woven into a tapestry at the @textielmuseum TextielLab in the Netherlands. The piece is woven from alpaca, mohair, merino wool, PET-recycled polyester and viscose.”

Kustaa Saksi´s tapestries, mainly inspired by nature, are made on computer-controlled jacquard looms in collaboration with TextielLab at the TextielMuseum Tilburg in the Netherlands. Saksi (b.1975) is an internationally renowned artist whose work was at the latest brought to the attention of the general public in Finland in the summer of 2023 because of his exhibition at the Design Museum, featuring dozens of tapestries designed by him.

Saksi´s work has been exhibited in numerous museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York. His designs has been commissioned by Hermès, Nike and Marimekko, among others. You can read more about his work here: