Embodied Memories

Stefania Urist

Stefania Urist’s works explore the relationship between people and their environment. Stefania Urist encourages us to question which of our systems overuse plants, land, and water. Trees and wood in different forms are recurring materials in her work. She explores trees and forests and looks at the properties of wood that go beyond the physical. Trees form communities and have a memory. Through her work, she criticises the fact that humans use plants as commodities instead of living with them in symbiosis.

Embodied Memories
2023, laser-cut recycled cardboard boxes
200cm x 120cm

For Embodied Memories, Stefania Urist laser-etched growth rings of old trees onto cardboard boxes from online retailers. This way, she restores the memory of the cardboard’s former life as a tree and draws attention to how trees and forests are used in unsustainable ways. The work addresses the community in which trees and forests thrive and the disruption of these relationships by human impact. The capitalist idea of infinite growth and consumption is driving global warming and the decline of biodiversity. Forests have less and less time to adapt to human-made changes. Embodied Memories addresses the tension between the different perceptions of time that humans and trees have due to their differing lifespans. Because trees have longer lifespans, they are affected by climate change in a very different way. What do trees remember and what will they live to see?

Art installation in a dead tree