NEHA

HIRVE

From India. Lives and works in Stockholm.

In a light that is leaving

In the woods between Cologne and Aachen, secrets are whispered, communications are encrypted, meetings are arranged by nightfall, and barricades are constantly built and destroyed at every entrance point. Here, there are no laws and it always feels like the apocalypse is about to occur. There are people living in this forest — somewhere between ten and one hundred, no one will say — and they are waiting it out until the inevitable ‘Day X,’ when they will be evicted, their treehouse homes destroyed by the police, and the last of forest will be cut down forever. Hambacher Forest in Germany is home to a group of eco-anarchists fighting against Germany’s biggest power company, RWE. The threat of the neighbouring lignite mine being expanded looms closer as more and more trees are cut down every year. The occupation is reflective of a larger ongoing political and environmental conflict over brown coal in the country. But there is no big battle scene to be found in ‘Hambi’, just the slow tedium of a constant struggle. Treehouses are built and evicted every few months. People come and go, and in between arrests and clashes, there is a lot of waiting around for the end of the world. Day X came on September 13, 2018, in one of the largest police operations in the region. There is just 10% left of the 12,000 year-old forest. Much like the rest of our planet, it walks a critical precipice. ‘In a light that is already leaving’ is more the story of the frustration we feel when we look at the state of the world around us, when it isn’t enough to share a Facebook link or stand in the street with a protest sign. What else do we have, if not our need to keep fighting in the face of the end of the world? And why must we wait for the end of the world to act? ‘So we wait, breeding mood, making music of decline. We sit down in the smell of the past and rise in a light that is already leaving.’ – Rita Dove, November for Beginners

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Police arrest protesters from the series In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
"Sascha" from the series In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
"Hole" from the series In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
"Wasabi", Hambacher Forest, May 2018. from the series In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
Forest at dawn from the series In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
"Buo" from the series In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
Police guards from the series In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
Tower from the series In a light that is leaving by Neha Hirve
Mumu in a ski mask, Hambacher Forest, May 2018. By Neha Hirve
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