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City of the Forest

Property is a social, spatial tool enacted to fortify the regime’s continuum of power and control. Through acts of domestication, preservation, and measurement, land and its inhabitants have been valued as resources to exploit and tame. Spaces deemed “natural” are not pristine landscapes but highly regulated environments that continue to reinscribe the systemic cycles of exclusion, erasure, and precarity. Atlanta has been rendered as a placeless backdrop by the film industry and a tactical testing ground by the Atlanta Police Foundation. Through the extraction of public resources, flattening of history and culture, and the degradation of the forest and wetland ecologies, the South River Forest has been a site of ongoing trauma since its commodification as property. Blackhall Studio’s vision for the future of the South River Forest proposes sound stage expansions that will intensify the imposition of capitalism on the site and erode its ecology as it deforests public land for private development. Direct actions and advocacy against the proposals are being led by community organizations, including environmental activists, forest defenders, abolitionists, and Muscogee Creek descendants. We imagine future cultural productions throughout metro Atlanta to build toward a vision of spatial and environmental liberation. As components of the city currently weave into the forest, taming and domesticating it, we envision the infrastructures of the forest performing the reverse. Infiltrating the city to de-zone, disrupt and erode the structure of the regime. Spaces of fluidity provide few distinctions between the industrialized built environments.