Within the framework of the European cooperation project Forest Encounters – the leading partner of which is the Igor Zabel Association – we are organizing an international symposium and opening of the exhibition by Polonca Lovšin in Ljubljana, 30 November–1 December 2023.


Friday, 1 December 2023, 9:30–15:15, MGLC Švicarija, Pod turnom 4, Ljubljana

Speakers: Giovanni Aloi, Agata A. Konczal, Ana Kučan, Teo Hrvoje Oršanič, Maja Simoneti, Borbála Soós; moderators: Urška Jurman, Mateja Kurir

The programme is held in English. Entry is free of charge, but registration is required. Please, register here:

The Forest Encounters symposium aims to develop a multifaceted and interdisciplinary understanding of diverse values, meanings, challenges, and perspectives related to forest. Bringing together different disciplines, the symposium approaches the forest as a site where we can explore ecology and interconnectedness but also as a site of diverse and often conflictual policies, and social, cultural, and economic practices.

The symposium acknowledges both the human and other-than-human perspectives, the rights of humans to nature and the rights of nature, and discusses diverse imaginaries, concepts, and practices around the questions: What and how can we learn with and through the forest? How to meet the challenges of contemporary forest management? What forest disaster narratives tell us about modern society? What meanings are attached to the forest as a cultural landscape? How has artistic engagement with the forest changed over time? What kind of forest do we wish for and need for the future? What do we need to make that happen?


• 9:30–10:00 / Registration
• 10:00 / Forest Encounters by Urška Jurman and Mateja Kurir
• 10:15 / Teo Hrvoje Oršanič: A Challenging Future for Forests and Forestry
• 10:35 / Maja Simoneti: The Forest as a Common Good and Challenges of Its Management
• 10:55 / Borbála Soós: Rewilding as an Emergent Subject in Artistic Practices
• 11:15–12:00 / Discussion

• Break and Multisensory exercise in the forest by Jasminka Ferček

• 13:30 / Agata A. Konczal: Forests for an (Un)certain Future
• 13:50 / Ana Kučan: Forest as a Cultural Landscape – Silent Potentiality
• 14:10 / Giovanni Aloi: Remembrance and Recovery – On the Fragility and Persistence of Nature (recording)
• 14:30–15:15 / Discussion

> Detailed programme:


Exhibition by Polonca Lovšin

30 November 2023–31 January 2024
Slovenian Forestry Institute, Večna pot 2, Ljubljana
Monday–Friday, 9:00–14:00

Opening: Thursday, 30 November 2023, at 16:00
Exhibition guided tour: Wednesday, 13 December 2023, at 17:00

Due to the forecast of bad weather, we are cancelling the opening performance: What Does the Forest Say?, 30 November 2023, 15:30–16:00, by the entrance to the Forestry Institute car park; performers: dancers and volunteers under the direction of choreographer Klavdija Križ Potisk; music: Tjaša Avsec, Tilen Stepišnik, Ksenja Kohek

The exhibition The Forest in Women’s Hands and Mushrooms at the End of the World presents new works by the artist and architect Polonca Lovšin, who in recent years has focused on the topic of forests and their importance for the future of our planet. She is interested in the more-than-human perspective and views the forest as a complex ecosystem that reveals the connectedness between humans and other living beings in their environment.

Each of the two exhibited works examines in its own way the relationship between people and the forest. Spotlighting women foresters, hunters, and forest owners in Slovenia, The Forest in Women’s Hands examines our relationship to forests through the question of gender. In doing so, it relies on research by the Slovenian Forestry Institute which shows that, in contrast to their male counterparts, female forest owners are more likely to prioritize the ecological and social functions of their forest land over commercial interests.

Mushrooms at the End of the World is centred on fungi – organisms that connect all life on earth. Among the planet’s oldest inhabitants, fungi are found everywhere around us and even inside us. They possess incredible transformative power, turning rocks into soil, producing poisons and hallucinations, cleaning radioactive soil, and degrading crude oil and plastic. They are also vital for forests and trees, with which they exchange essential substances for survival. The artwork visualizes the transformation of ordinary human objects, houses, and cities, from which fungi create the fertile soil for a new beginning.

Polonca Lovšin conceives the exhibition around the question: Can the ecological and social priorities of women in forestry and the transformative power of fungi lead us to greater respect for the interdependence and connectedness of the living world and, as a result, better conservation of our forests for the coming generations?

The works were created in collaboration with women foresters, hunters, and forest owners in Slovenia and the microbiologist Primož Turnšek. They reference the international project Fem4Forest: Forests in Women’s Hands (2020–22), of which the Slovenian Forestry Institute was a lead partner, as well as the books The Mushroom at The End of the World by the anthropologist Anna L. Tsing and Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures by the biologist Merlin Sheldrake.

Polonca Lovšin, 2023
Polonca Lovšin, 2023

The symposium is organized by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory in collaboration with Mateja Kurir and Polonca Lovšin, and with the support of the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC Švicarija).

Partners for the exhibition: Igor Zabel Association, Slovenian Forestry Institute, and KUD Obrat

Forest Encounters project partners: Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, Ljubljana (lead partner); Institute of Spatial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Graz University of Technology; and OUT OF SIGHT, Antwerp

Creative Europe Programme – European Cooperation Project
Co-funded by the European Union, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, and Ministry of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia.

Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.