ABOUT THIS PROJECT
The impetus for this project came about with the discovery of The Roberts Creek Forest Charter, written back in the mid-90’s by Adrian Belshaw that at the time served as a proclamation towards our community’s relationship to the surrounding forests and our commitment to protecting and maintaining their livelihood. It resonated on a personal level, speaking to an ongoing and even more critical present moment as we watch the last of our local natural forests lost to clear cut logging. I wondered why I hadn’t discovered this Charter earlier in my time here. It felt important, something that we, as a community, should not only be familiar with but should be shaping our decisions about how we live and how we move forward. I wanted to find a way to share it.
At the same time, I was playing with the AI image generator, Midjourney which is capable of creating mind-blowing images with only one or two lines of text. One prompt that was getting some attention because of its spectacular results was “_______ meets Gucci” which takes whatever theme you choose to plug into the blank space and transforms it into a lush, surreal photoshoot in the style of the famous fashion house. I had seen others mash up this prompt with Wes Anderson, Star Wars, and other pop culture touch points. What would happen, I wondered, if I mixed it with the Charter or, more specifically, its provocative last line: “May our actions here be so kind and wise that, in time, this forest cannot be told apart from the ancient whole skin of the world.”
The result can be seen in the wonderfully fantastical images displayed above.
One big issue that I struggle with in generating AI art is that it often feels impersonal. As complex as it can be, there is little emotional investment or attachment. It feels easily discarded, just more noise in a noisy universe. But by using a prompt that was hyper-local and infused personal meaning, I was able to feel an artistic connection to the pieces I had created. And by transforming them into an art project, I felt some sense of process and investment in the work, again something that is seriously lacking in much of what gets produced in the AI sphere.
Roberts Creek Forest Charter
We are the nation of Roberts Creek! We are a forest people!
This is our forest charter
All the native kinds of this beautiful forest…plant, animal, fungus & very small dwell here with the rocks soils, waters & airs by their own ancient right.
We accept it as our right and duty to protect these forest kinds from the greed and fear of our own human kind.
We replace the economics of greed and fear with the economics of respect and love for all creation.
We see that the ancient trees are the elders of this land and we revere and protect them above all, they ate our own elders, they are the parents and the teachers of the young trees, they are the pillars and the roof and the watchtowers of this beautiful forest.
We take all wild creatures, especially the rarer kinds and the larger wild animals under our protection wherever they may grow or roam from the beaches to the Elphinstone ridge.
Our love and protection extends from our own land to the forests and people neighbouring our own and to all the forests and peoples of the world
We use the forest lightly, knowing that heavy use is damaging to the spirit of the land and hurts the souls of our own children May young trees and old grow together in their natural families
May old trees grow older and die in peace
May the dead wood be the food and shelter of the creatures of the forest
May we welcome the wilderness into our own yards
May our actions here be so kind and wise that, in time, this forest cannot be told apart from the ancient whole skin of the world
—Adrian Belshaw, circa 1994
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Kevin Broome is a graphic designer, writer and artist living in the community of Roberts Creek, BC. He is the principal and creative lead at Wall On The Fly where he designs meaningful & strategic brands for future-friendly clients. He is also a founding Director at the Living Forest Institute, a non-profit dedicated to connecting Sunshine Coast communities with the local natural forests.
For thousands of years before European settlers arrived in this area of the world, the community that we call Roberts Creek sat on the land of both the shíshálh and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh peoples. The former referred to this area as xwesam, meaning “fat fish” while the latter gave it the name Stelḵáya, meaning “wolf”.
As a visitor on this land, coming from Ontario with my ancestry in England and Scotland, I strive to deepen my own understanding of the local Indigenous cultures and I commit to reframing my responsibilities to land and community. This project is a part of this exploration and presents itself to the world with respect for this land and for the people who have and do reside here.