Since the birth of its Forestry Law, Uruguay, "a country with four cows per capita", has experienced unprecedented changes. For the first time, its exports from the forestry industry exceed those of meat, while its landscapes are being transformed.
"In Opera" is a story told by this young law through a peculiar multi-authored opera staged in the Uruguay Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. The law looks in the mirror and sings to us in an attempt to understand what is going on around it and why it does not receive the same attention as other regulations. In the piece, it shares the stage with the spaces, territories and bodies around the wood in Uruguay, along with musical interventions by a new generation of Afro-Uruguayan artists that interrupt the lyrical narrative.
Thus, the Forestry Law is revealed as an active text that is part of a trans-scalar assemblage -legal, spatial, environmental and social- that can derive in the construction, symbolic and literal, of other multiple futures. When most of Uruguay's abundant new forests end up being exported abroad as cellulose pulp, how can we imagine Uruguay as a laboratory for fairer and more inclusive wood futures?
To collectively seek answers, the opera is complemented by a publication that explores the multiple scales affected by the law based on an extensive series of interviews with forestry stakeholders; an overview of the present of timber construction in the country; and a series of parallel programming in Uruguay that will broaden a situated view into the future.