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Hemlock Hospice

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David Buckley Borden Fast Foward Futures

Art/Science Installation & Exhibition
by David Buckley Borden & Aaron M. Ellison

This exhibit has closed. It was on view October 2017 through November 18, 2018.
Download the tour brochure.

 Hemlock Hospice documentary (2018) by Faizal Westcott, Devin Chaganis, and Casey Keenan:


Hemlock Hospice was an art-science collaboration between David Buckley Borden, 2016-2017 artist and designer-in-residence at the Harvard Forest, and Harvard Forest Senior Ecologist Aaron Ellison. It featured innovative art installed in the Fisher Museum and along a new interpretative walking trail, focused on eastern hemlock, a foundation tree in eastern forests that is slowly vanishing from North America as it is weakened and killed by a small insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Hemlock Hospice blended science, art, and design in respecting hemlock and its ecological role as a foundation forest species; promoting an understanding of the adelgid; and encouraging empathetic conversations among all the sustainers of and caregivers for our forests—ecologists and artists, foresters and journalists, naturalists and citizens—while fostering social cohesion around ecological issues.

Hemlock Hospice was more than an art-science collaboration; it was also an educational initiative. Associated public workshops and print and social media in 2017 and 2018 promoted reflection, critical thinking, and creativity among scientists, artists, educators, humanists, and the general public. A diverse group of media partners have brought the concepts to a broad range of people in and outside the arts and sciences. Download the press release.

As scientists, we envision welcoming artists into the lab and field so that they can help us communicate our scientific findings and their importance to broader audiences of non-scientists. But collaborations between artists and scientists really go both ways. Working with David on Hemlock Hospice is pushing me and the other scientists who work at Harvard Forest to revisit and re-frame the questions we ask and the hypotheses we test about how forests work.
Aaron Ellison, Senior Ecologist Harvard Forest, Harvard University

Lectures and Exhibits

Recent Lectures: Hemlock Hospice: Landscape Ecology, Art, and Design

  • September 6, 2018 - Lexington Public Library, Lexington, MA
  • September 19, 2018 - Le Laboratoire Cambridge, Cambridge, MA
  • October 4, 2018 - Tufts University, Environmental Studies Program, Medford, MA

Past Events:

  • Closing Event, Harvard Forest Fisher Museum - October 20, 2018 
  • Athol Public Library, Athol, MA - May 29, 2018
  • Exhibit: PROPOSED FUTURES: THEN AND NOW, Urbano Project, Jamaica Plain, MA - March 30-May 17, 2018
  • Urbano Project, Jamica Plain, MA - May 11, 2108
  • Maine Audubon, Falmouth, ME - May 10, 2018
  • Broto Conference, Provincetown, MA - May 6, 2018
  • Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA - April 16, 2018
  • Boston Architectural College, Boston, MA - April 12, 2018
  • Ohio State University: Science and Technology Studies, Columbus, OH - April 6, 2018
  • Exhibit: Warming Warning Walk at Shifting Sites group exhibition, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI - March 5-19, 2018
  • Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI - February 27, 2018
  • Northeastern University: School of Architecture, Boston, MA - February 8, 2018
  • Harvard University: Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA - February 6, 2018
  • Hampshire College: Cole Science Center, Amherst, MA - February 2, 2018
  • Smith College: Hillyer Art Library, Northhampton, MA - February 1, 2018

Media Coverage 

Hemlock Hospice on Social Media

Exhibit Opening Photos

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Examples of David Buckley Borden's Hemlock Hospice work at Harvard Forest

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[Exchange Tree, one of twelve Hemlock Hospice installations at Harvard Forest, 8 x 10 x 12.5 feet, wood and acrylic paint, 2017. Collaborators: David Buckley Borden, Dr. Aaron Ellison, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, and Salua Rivero.]   [Fast Forward Future, installation at Harvard Forest, 4 x 8 x 26 feet, wood, acrylic paint, and assorted hardware, 2017. Collaborators: Jack Byers, Dr. Aaron Ellison, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, and Salua Rivero.]   [Wayfinding Barrier, No.3, 1 x 4 x 4 feet, wood, aluminum tape, acrylic paint, assorted hardware, and recycled ant nests, 2017. Collaborators: Dr. Aaron Ellison and Salua Rivero.]   [Dendro Data Stick, 5 x 7 x 30 inches, wood, aluminum tape, acrylic paint, glue, and assorted hardware, 2017. Collaborator: Dr. Aaron Ellison]

(Explore more high-res photos of the art)

About Harvard Forest: 

The Harvard Forest is a department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) of Harvard University, located in Petersham, Massachusetts. From a center comprised of 4,000 acres of land, research facilities, and the Fisher Museum, the scientists, students, and collaborators at the Forest explore the interacting physical, biological, and human systems that drive change in the New England landscape.