Phytomediations or How Potted Plants Make Great Music

This talk will provide a critical overview of media art works that mobilize and exemplify ‘plant sensitivity’. Botany has historically defined a plant as incapable of sensitivity often identifying immobility and lack of sensitivity as fundamental to its being. This conception though was challenged by botanists from the late 19th century onwards primarily through research in a field collectively referred to as phytodynamics. Such studies that centered primarily on recording and codifying bioelectrical activities of plants continued to complicate conventional notions of the place of plants. Contemporary media artists at least since the 1970s have been mobilizing phytodynamic aspects of plant sensitivity to create artworks that similarly problematize the notion of plant. It will be shown that this phytodynamic undercurrent in botanical discourse was revived and expanded in the works of artists including the pioneering work by Richard Lowenberg and Tom Zahuranec and in more recent works by Eduardo Kac, Masaki Fujihata, Miyo Masaoka and Guto Nobrega. These artistic investigations point toward the need for a revised ontological and cultural reckoning with / of plants vis a vis humans and animals.

Seminars' Instructors
Gunalan Nadarajan

Back to seminars
Text To SpeechText To Speech Text ReadabilityText Readability Color ContrastColor Contrast
Accessibility Options