This immersive installation takes inspiration from the practice of ‘forest bathing’, a therapeutic physiological and psychological exercise. While Japan is credited with the term’s origin, other cultures have long recognised the importance of the natural world for improving human health. In the 1990s, researchers began studying the benefits of forest bathing, confirming the positive effects of spending time in nature. Playing with the relationship between nature and culture, Botanical Bath offers an indoor nature experience that appeals to the human senses, using plants to play a trick on the human mind. The visitor is encouraged to reach through the opening and bathe in this hyper-natural world.
Made in collaboration with botanical artist Frank Bruggeman, perfumer Liza Witte and sound designer Alfred Koster.
Botanical Bath is part of the Dutch pavilion’s exhibition Have we met? for the 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition, promoting new ways for understanding our planet as a shared space for plants, microbes, humans and other animals. The view that the earth exists solely for human exploitation must be radically rethought to confront today’s environmental crises. Have we met? therefore examines what attitudes, tools and technologies are necessary to recalibrate the relationship between humans and non-humans.
Studio Ossidiana has designed the exhibition as a collective body that doubles as an observatory, combining human, animal, botanical and mineral components. Visitors are welcome in the belly of this living being that temporarily inhabits the Triennale site.
Commissioner: Aric Chen (General and Artistic Director, Het Nieuwe Instituut)
Project Leader: Francien van Westrenen (Head of Agency, Het Nieuwe Instituut)
Curators: Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Senior Researcher, Het Nieuwe Instituut) and Ellen Zoete (Programme Manager, Het Nieuwe Instituut)
Producers: Nikita Hurkmans and Wietske Nutma
Spatial design: Studio Ossidiana (Giovanni Bellotti, Alessandra Covini)
Graphic design: Mislav Žugaj and Gailė Pranckūnaitė