TABOO - TRANSGRESSION - TRANSCENDENCE
in Art & Science
26-28 November 2020, University of Applied Arts Vienna/Online
This presentation will focus on a paper that I am currently writing in conjunction with Dr. Jae Emerling tentatively entitled, “Vegetal Companionship: Plants and People in the 21st Century.” For this paper we are looking at the power that technology, globalism, art, and philosophy have played in drastically overhauling the human-plant relationship. Unlike the animal, which has historically received significant attention through channels of continental philosophy, the plant has generally been ignored aside from a handful of pertinent instances. This presentation will look at the human-plant relationship over the past 150-years, from multiple perspectives, and outline the pivotal moments that have led us to our current nuanced situation. Some topics that will be looked at include: plant displacement and the apartment garden, plants on instagram, eco-eroticism, critical plant studies, cannabis, genetic engineering, technology, science, immanence, plants in contemporary art (including works by Anya Gallacio, Agnes Denes, Pierre Huyghe, and Haegue Yang), plant philosophy (Michael Marden, Michael Pollan, La Mettrie, Deleuze, Haraway), plant myth/literature (Kafka, Calvino, Wallace Stevens), plants and masculinity, and plants and museums/galleries. We frame this paper as an argument for what we term, vegetal companionship, the solution we outline for re-connecting, re-tuning, and re-aligning with the vegetal world in a constantly shifting techno-capitalist world.