Plants Speak If We Listen
Plants Speak, If We Listen is a project and a group of artists, curators and researchers that got together to discuss overlapping interests in the role of nature in contemporary art. The urgency to meet up was borne out of our current climate crisis and the many social-political implications that it brings, as per example, further inequality affecting the most vulnerable people and the extinction of species, human and non-human. It feels relevant to interrogate our practices in this context and work towards a collective curatorial project that is critically looking towards the future.
We have been meeting and exchanging ideas through a series of events that we called Symposium: Plants Speak, If We Listen. Focussing on the idea of listening to plants and animals, understanding them as our kin in pursuit of collapsing the assumed human/non-human hierarchies and addressing care in the context of the planet - inclusive of feminist subjectivities.
In our first meetings (at Black Tower Projects and Chisenhale Studios) we identified three major branches in which contemporary art often intertwines with the concept of nature: gender studies, post-colonialism and post-humanism. We also identified a problem of representation in exhibitions of this kind and agreed to find a collective methodology to challenge this. We have worked these ideas through by means of presentations, lecture-performances, performances, readings and workshops. Now, we are initiating a reading group to meet at The Feminist Library.
We would like to take the next steps to transform the knowledge we have developed together into an exhibition, public programme or publication.
The project is organised by Mariana Lemos and Laura Mallows
Previous participants & people involved:
Artists involved: Laura Mallows, Paula Turminha & Iria Suarez, Korallia Stergides, Beth Perkin & Helen Brewer & Alexis Calvas (Into The Mesh collective), Bronte Dow, Vita Alwyn, Bart Hajduk and Lizzie Watts; Indianna Solnick-Farrell, May Hands, Alexandra Boaru, Jessica Timbs, Rhona Eve Clews, Lea Collet, Mandisa Apena and Rosalind Fowler;
Curators: Mariana Lemos, Nastia Volynova and Laura Plant;
Book editor/publisher: Jonathan Casciani (Beam Editions);
Links to previous meetings’ programmes:
Image of the group together at Black Tower, listening to Plantaphilia’s presentation (June 2019)
Laura Mallow’s workshop at Chisenhale studios (September 2019)