Forest Paths (forget Heidegger)


Forest Paths  3:39  4K video.  Camera, sound, editing: Michiel van Bakel

DCP 4k 3996×2160 flat 24 FPS
DCP 4k 3996×2160 flat 30 FPS

A warped stroll through a forest.
Animated still photographs reveal movement and light on the forest paths that are otherwise invisible to the human eye.
Van Bakel made a ‘scanner-camera’ that extends human vision to near-infrared light in an other-worldly way.
What’s this thing called vision? What’s the fundamental difference between what a robot discerns, what a flying insect detects or man’s observation?

’“Wood” is an old name for forest. In the wood there are paths, mostly overgrown, that come to an abrupt stop where the wood is untrodden. They are called Holzwege. Each goes its separate way, though within the same forest. It often appears as if one is identical to another. But it only appears so. Woodcutters and forest keepers know these paths. They know what it means to be on a Holzweg.’
From the preface to Martin Heidegger’s ‘Off the Beaten Track’ (Holzwege)

’Human beings have absorbed technology at an unconscious level, such that they have come to operate through technology, as though by way of some tele-kinesis.
…It is time, it would seem, to adopt a more flexible and tolerant attitude towards technology. It is time to break free from the shackles of the past. It is time, perhaps, to forget Heidegger.’
Neil Leach

Heidegger once stated that unless we question technology, “we remain unfree and chained to technology”. A vision not shared by everyone these days, (see Neil leach’ comment, mentioned earlier). In this video artwork, especially by the way it unveils otherwise unseen aspects of ‘nature’ and the way the camera helps us interpret the forest, our interconnectedness to both technology ánd our natural habitat is disclosed.

Direct link to HD preview video (only fast internet connection):


Forest Paths  premiered at IFFR 2018.  Distribution LI-MAEye Filminstitute

This film was supported by the Netherlands Film Fund and Mondriaan Fund



Michiel van Bakel studied astronomy and psychology for several years before he chose for autonomous visual art, at art school. Van Bakel expresses himself through film and videos, sculpture and installations.

His work focuses on people and their surroundings, often resulting in a poetic reality. It conveys a fascination for the tension between man and technology, perception of time in our delicate man-made ecosystem.



Filmography  (selection)

Hovering over Wasteland    1998, 2:30 video
Undertow             1999, 1:50 video,  Special Juryprize Videolisboa 2000
5 AM                 2002, video  First Prize BlackMariaFilmFestival 2004
Equestrian            2003, 4’, video transferred to 35 mm. film
Zinc Garden            2004, 10’ 35 mm. film, music Louis Andriessen
Time Ring            2006, real time video-installation, with Bill Spinhoven
Inner Machine             2007, 3’ 20 HD-video
Sensibel            2009, 3’ HD-video
Walking City Redox        2011, 3’ 30 HD-video
Edison Bay            2013, 3:30 HD-video
Road trip to the Dutch Mountains  2016, 3:33 HD-video


FOREST PATHS was recorded near coastal dune-lake Quakjeswater.

Special thanks: Jan Misker, V2 Institute for the Unstable Media Rotterdam, software advice.