In my day job I work as an evolutionary geneticist. I seek to turn the unknown in nature into measurable facts. But when I go out, into the woods, by a lake, or a bog, I experience something else. The questions don’t need to be answered, it is enough to see, to hear, to simply just be there. I once met another biologist who said she was afraid of the woods, because she had grown up in a large city and had no experience of wilderness. This worried me. What happens to motivation to preserve and protect nature if we don’t have a personal relationship with it? When we surround ourselves with concrete and asphalt and clothes, we forget how to explore nature with all senses. This comes naturally to children, but only if allowed to play in the woods from an early age.
Juuret is a project of how it feels to go back to my roots in the forest like a child would, bare-footed, with heightened senses. My roots are in Finnish culture where forests have always played a central role as a natural resource and a recreational site, as well as in mythology. Although the power of myths is long gone, the spell of an old growth forest remains for those who wish to experience it. For this project I chose the locations by following my four-year old daughter to see what she finds interesting to explore. She found a fallen tree with a root system forming a cave suitable for a bear – or an elf.