At dawn we came to a large lake. By the broken shoreline, the water surface was covered with a canopy of duckweed, and the first rays of sun, gliding along the surface, fell into the gaps between the duckweed to the bottom of the lake. An old, flooded forest rose out of the water. The tops of the giant trees were hidden behind the morning mist, and the trunks and roots had long been swallowed up by the water.
When the fog cleared and the sun was fully reflected in the water, we dived straight into its reflection. Once we read how Alice fell down a rabbit hole, so we flew down, but not into the hole, but into the tower of a mirror-like waterfall. As we approached the mirror bed, we noticed our reflections in it. How funny we appeared with puffed-up cheeks and how many of us were there! Looking around, we realized that the waterfall was hidden inside a large tree, the roots of which provided somewhere to climb through. We set off deep into the narrowest of offshoots with fireflies stuck inside. There, at the bottom of the lake, one could well believe that it was August and we were standing under the night sky waiting for a shooting star. Or maybe it was all true and we really observed constellations entrapped with crystals, moss and dried flowers in the roots of an old tree. Venturing out from the star alley (as we later called it when we retold our adventure at home), we found ourselves on open ground — before us was a flooded forest, or rather just its foundation, which was quietly rustling before us.
Now, sitting at home, I’m trying to remember what season it was then. I remember the spacious green glades between the trees, but I also remember snowdrifts, how we played snowballs. Perhaps it was both summer and winter at the same time. Running up the green slope, we found a fallen tree with a rotten core.
There were drifts of snow inside the tree. Without hesitation, we climbed inside and settled comfortably in a pile of snow to rest, and then we fell asleep. I remember waking up to a bright ray directly falling on my face straight from a hollow branch — it was time to continue on my way. The forest was invaded by strange moulds and different types of mushroom. They could be torn from one place and replanted in another — they quickly fused with the new surface.
Duckweed rippled above us. As we stood on the shore of the lake, it seemed green and dense. Underwater, it was noticeable that it wasn’t: the duckweed was differently coloured and let the sunlight shine through. There were glimmers of blue, green, pink glints along the bottom, which we tried to catch.
In the distance, the light of a red searchlight could be seen behind the trunks of the trees. We went to explore and saw the light forming a barrier in front of us. Behind the reddish veil, we saw other people, just like us. They were busy with something, gathered at the beam breaking through the column of water. We dared not to disturb them and continued on our journey through the forest.
From the diary of S.Sh.
Mon–Sun, 12:00 to 20:00
The Forest. Sveta Shuvaeva, 2020
Visitors of all ages are welcomed.
Every two hours we close the Forest for a 10-minute cleaning.
The second Monday of every month is a day off.
You can leave a child over the age of 7 in the Forest under the supervision of a facilitator for a maximum of 1 hour. During this time, we will ask you to stay in touch and return to the Atelier at our request.
The facilitator can take care of no more than two children at a time. Please be understanding of this rule: it is essential for safety and quality work.
A child over the age of 12 may stay in the Forest on their own, provided that the parents can be contacted quickly if necessary.
Photos by: Gleb Leonov, Mark Seriy, Anastasia Soboleva, Anya Todich
When entering the Forest, we take off street shoes to keep the space clean. Please bring a change of shoes or socks (preferably with non-slip soles).
Please note: the number of visitors that can stay in the Forest at one time is limited.