Phytocracy in situ
Prototyping tools for the investigation of plant governance
In connection with the exhibition Strange Encounters with Vegetal Others
How did wheat manage to domesticate the human? From Michael Pollan’s perspective-bending “Botany of Desire” to the environmental humanities’ “vegetal politics”, the entanglements between plants and people are ubiquitous, mundane and often hiding in plain sight. As part of the inquiries into Vegetal Otherness, Špela Petrič set out to produce her own phytocracy-revealing onto-epistemological tools that are inspired by actual institutions/domains/cultural practices framing plant-people relations, but also playfully oblivious to their axioms and boundaries.
The open session invites participants to reflect on plant governance as governance of plants by joining in a fast and funny tool prototyping session to investigate the river Panke in the vicinity of Art Laboratory Berlin. The exercise connects to a wider questioning of artistic methodologies, mediations, narratives, with which we try to convey experiences with the vegetal that often escape words.
The workshop is based on Deep Phytocracy: Feral Songs, the work-in-progress Petrič has been developing at Nida Art Colony, Lithuania and Osmoza, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Slovenian artist Špela Petrič approaches art production with a background in Hybrid Arts as well as a PhD in Biochemistry. These dual epistemological approaches inform her work with the Plant Kingdom as part of a multi-species collaboration exploring the ontologies, methodologies, ethics and practices of care involved in our relationship to the vegetal. Her first solo show in Berlin will give an insight into her multi-species endeavour.