Alphabet Forest

Elfi Seidel (1989, DE) is a visual artist and researcher. Her artists’ books, analogue prints, sound pieces and writings are concerned with the shifting space between words and meaning; they explore a distinct visual or audible beauty that written language may reveal beyond semantic clarity. Seidel is interested in a creating an open-endedness around the acts of reading and listening, highlighting the mystical within the familiar and creating spaces of poetic ambiguity.


Spatial installation consisting of an artists’ book (risograph print on FSC-certified paper, thread stitching, 12 × 19 cm, 56 pages), tree and shrub saplings, wild herbs

Alphabet Forest is a spatial installation proposing a poeto-arboreal entanglement of poetry and permaculture. The publication of the same name contains an alphabetical assemblage of vegetal beings gleaned from poetry spanning 2,051 years. Those trees, shrubs and wild herbs—each of them initially described by a different poet—are also a physical part of the installation and hold the promise of thriving together as a biodiverse and self-regenerating forest ecosystem.


All the Roses and None of Them

All the Roses and None of Them examines the relationship between human poetic language and the natural world. Chapter one maps the negotiable space between trees and poetic attempts at representation. Chapter two examines how even deliberately ‘ecological’ artworks do not always resist the temptation to impose authorship onto non-human others, exploiting ‘nature’ as a projection surface for human concerns. Chapter three points towards the possibility of a reconciliation between the concepts ‘nature’ and ‘language’, proposing that they are not antitheses, but part of the same flux, that human poetic language is inevitably part of nature.

A free PDF can be downloaded here, to buy a physical copy, please get in touch via email.