Sanctuary of the Unseen Forest

United Kingdom, 2022

Marshmallow Laser Feast in collaboration with Andres Roberts and James Bulley

Courtesy of artists and Sandra Ciampone

Sanctuary of the Unseen Forest is a large-scale video installation that creates a moment of awe, felt when we embrace the presence of a majestic being, a giant Ceiba Pentandra from the Colombian Amazon. The artwork seeks to foster a sense of belonging to a more-than-human world.

As we peer through the layers of the tree, we uncover the vibrancy of the life flowing through and beyond its body. The flow of nutrients in its phloem pulse to your heartbeat and reverberates through the room. This pulsing draws you in on a journey from the crown to the roots, climaxing in rivers of carbon in the soil. Here we meet the woven mycelial bridge between land and the sky: in this network of mycorrhizal fungi we see that no self is bounded – we are all porous, enmeshed and entangled.

Where do you end, and the world begins?

Video courtesy the artists. Image at bottom of the page: courtesy the artists and Sandra Ciampone

Artist statement
We belong to the biosphere, a beautifully complex system that connects us to everything. Trees inhale our breath and use sunlight to exhale oxygen. We breathe in an eternal cycle of reciprocity.

Our collective future depends on seeing the invisible networks between us and nature, the world beyond our human senses.

Hidden in the layers of a tree, we uncover the vibrancy of life. Nutrients pulse through its arteries in sync with a heartbeat; rivers of carbon pour into the soil.

From its roots to its canopy, the tree is a living bridge between the earth and sky.

Do you know where this ancient kapok tree ends, and you begin?

Ceiba tree research photos from the Amazon rainforest

Ceiba tree research photos from the Amazon rainforest. Courtesy Marshmallow Laser Feast, Ersin Han Ersin.

The Ceiba Pentandra and the Amazon Rainforest
The kapok tree (ceiba pentandra) is one of the tallest in the world and can grow to over 150 feet. These natural giants rise above the rainforest canopy and provide a home for plants that are dependent on sunlight, including epiphytes, which supply food and shelter for countless insects and animals.

Rainforests are part of the planet's life support system; an invisible world of interconnected systems and cycles that we all depend on, providing fresh air, clean water, fertile soil, nutritious food, rich biodiversity, a stable climate and a natural recycling system. If these systems and cycles are threatened, so are we.

For Sanctuary of the Unseen Forest, Marshmallow Laser Feast undertook ecological surveys and collected field recordings and volumetric data of the kapok tree while embedded in the Amazon rainforest (4°02'06.8 S 70°04'44.1 W). This data collection is part of their process for preserving endangered ecosystems and the species that live there and is critical to creating and realistically rendering the artwork.

In the above video Ersin Han Ersin explores Marshmallow Laser Feast's artistic practice.

While developing the artworks featured in Works of Nature, Marshmallow Laser Feast conducted a series of interviews with the foremost thinkers on nature, life and the more-than-human world. These include internationally renowned cultural ecologist and geophilosopher Dr David Abram, Professor of Plant-Soil-Processes at the University of Sheffield Katie J Field, author and founder of Schumacher College Dr Stephan Harding, and biologist and bestselling author Dr Merlin Sheldrake.

In the soundscape below, they discuss the interconnectedness of different organisms and different species – including us.

Audio courtesy of Dr Stephan Harding, Professor Katie J Field, Dr David Abram and Dr Merlin Sheldrake.

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Not in ACMI's collection

Previously on display

14 April 2024

ACMI: Gallery 4



Marshmallow Laser Feast

Production places
United Kingdom
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5500 X 3500mm screen size

Object Types



Single-channel video installation , 8.1 sound. Duration: 4min


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