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Genius Loci, Art In Nature, Biennale, Korea -

Genius Loci - Landscape Units - About the work

The Comission for this public art, at the Korean Biennale was to create a piece in the forest, which turned into the open space of the exhibition site. Another condition was that material use for permanent artwork will survive Taipon storms.
Four criteria led the creation and the process of Shai Zakai's artwork-

* Not to touch/enter the forest, find ideas to stay on the roads. 
* Address ecological local & global issues, through her installation.
* Collaborate with local and multidisciplinary experts.
* Contribute to the local community with knowledge about unseen processes in their  own habitat, through non conventional  esthetical appearance. 

January-August  2004, Research and planing:


On the first week  we will conduct site walking and locating the 7 stations. At the end of our monitoring, we will choose the seven most important issues through details that we wish to show/draw attention to, by the public in the area, and to the visitors of the Biennale from around the world. We shall also need to write a short summery of our field research. ( This part is our joint work - shai zakai from Israel and a local forester from Korea ).
On the second week my assistant/partner will arrive and install the 7 units which will indicate and point on those details.
On the third week I will photograph the selected details viewed through the metal units, and install them in seven indoor wooden units to be seen at the gallery. a certain connection between "indoor and outdoor "landscape Units" will appear - the Genius Loci of the area. all together 14 units. On the instruments, I will pose questions in regard to those issues, as a way to make the public curious in regard to the reasons for each question, and reflect upon what they see through the devices.

Fourth week, last preparation and opening of the Biennale. Aug. 17th. 2004

June 2004 composing the Content & team:

Landscape Units, general questions asked;

How might we recover a sense of place? 

How can we cause people to feel the intrinsic value of an open space, without the need to refer to function?

What can make us stop and look at nature as one looks at some very precious stones?

How can we fight against the homogenization of a landscape—against the pervasive daily blindness about environmental issues?

14 “Landscape Units”—7 outdoor and 7 indoor, offer new ideas and a walking path that inform perception and experience of a “sense of place” through biodiversity.

Especially fabricated to survive severe weather, were created from metal.  The metal units were installed with care for minimal forest disruption. right on the road, no interference to the forest itself.

Team - Eco-Art project in collaboration with:

Eran Spitzer, Industrial Designer, Israel

Dr. Ho Sang Kang, ecological consultant 

Korea Forest research Institute, Division of Forest Ecology


Geum-gang Nature Art Biennale 2004

 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

 Department of Culture and Science

 Israel National Lottery, the Council for the Art

August 2004 installing:

These following writings appeared as is, on the instruments, In Situ.


Shai Zakai, Israel      




Location #1 of 7 Landscape Units



NATIVE PLANT  “Ja Seng Jong”

TREE NAME  - Taxus cuspidate Siebold et Zucc.

FAMILY NAME  - Taxaceae


v  Does a right angle exist in Nature?

v  The native habitat of Taxus is distributed in high mountain areas from 700m to 2,500m above sea level where it can live more than 600 years and contain medicinal benefits, i.e. Taxol for anti-cancer. 

V How long will it survive here? 

V Will it produce Taxol here?


Location #2 of 7 Landscape Units



NATIVE PLANT  “Ja Seng Jong”

TREE NAMES;        

Oak -- Quercus acutissima Carruther

Pine-- Pinus densiflora Siebold et Zucc.

Issues Addressed

v  Nature-Culture Border

v  Nature invades domestic Nature.

v  Mother Oak’s resprouting—a healthy sign.


Location #3 of 7 Landscape Units



NATIVE PLANT  “Ja Seng Jong”

TREE NAME - Carpinus laxiflora Bl.INTRODUCED SPECIES – Do-Ib-Jong

Issues Addressed

v  Healthy trunks (so called, muscle tree) are part of healthy biodiversity.

v  Removal of forest litter is one of the primary causes of disturbances in Korean forests.

v What are the social, ecological, and spiritual meanings of invasive/introduced species?


Location #4 of 7 Landscape Units



NATIVE PLANT  “Ja Seng Jong”

PLANT NAME - Pueraira thunbergiana BentFAMILY NAME  Leguminosae


v  This plant is choking the maple tree (Acer mono), an important supplier of sap.  The maple tree will eventually die. 

v  Following forest management and anthropocentric approaches, it should be removed. Following ecocentric approach both plants are equally important.

v    Aesthetically its complexity raises interest and mystery.

v  Both plants have tumors or disturbances caused by insects.


Location #5 of 7 LANDSCAPE UNITS



NATIVE PLANT-  “Ja Seng Jong”

TREE NAME  - Kalopanax septemlobus (Thunb.) KoidzumiFAMILY NAME  Araliaceae


v    Massive cutting due to the tree market value (at least $300 per mature tree).

v    Leaves are used for food and bark and branches are used for medical treatment for rheumatism.  Because the leaves grow    high in the canopy, the entire tree is needlessly cut down.

v    Farmers want to cultivate it but it is difficult to domesticate.

v    Erosion exposes the roots. Under stress, the roots begin to sprout in the opposite direction.

v    Aesthetically the seven-finger leaf has a powerful presence.

Will it survive when the roots are above the leaves?

Will it survive human cutting for the leaves?

Will it survive human desire to use it as income source?


Location #6 of 7 LANDSCAPE UNITS




v  Roads-roots junction:  Road construction exposed the roots of the trees nearby.

v  Erosion  accelerated by human action, slowed down by trees


Location #7 of 7 LANDSCAPE UNITS




TREE NAME  - Japanese Larch, Larix  kaempferi Carr.


v  Forest management—Ecological Succession
v  Pines--Larches—Oaks—Soil??

The few remaining Larch trees indicate the story of forest succession.  In the last century Korean forests were denuded, leaving bare hills with bad soil condition.  Reforestation was accomplished by massive planting of pines and larches—trees that could survive harsh ecological conditions.  These trees enriched the soil, so now oaks can grow.   As the oaks succeed, the larches are fewer.