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If We Understood Plants ...

Plants are among the oldest living beings. Through the eons, they have always found a way to survive, and they are able to cope with change by their own strategies of resilience. They can be great teachers in a world that is driven by self-optimization, 24/7 availability, and overconsumption. Plants are pioneers in co-operating with their environment.

Even though their biomass makes up 80% of the earth, they learnt how to live in perfect harmony with their surroundings based on the rule of giving and taking. Their capabilities range from the wood-wide web, a decentralized organizational structure similar to our World Wide Web, from their ability to adapt to ever-changing circumstances to their capacity to communicate with whoever or whatever surrounds them.

Opening with the question “If plants could speak, which stories would they tell?” I address topics such as plant communication and sexuality – but I also approach themes that open up a larger context such as climate change or the Anthropocene.

Due to the climate change, more and more species – whether plants, insects, or animals – are in danger of becoming extinct. New generations of humans will grow up without being aware of this, since they will not have experienced the diversity of earlier ecosystems. In fact, it’s not the plants that are threatened – we are. We must not forget that our existence depends on their diversity. A future without us is entirely possible.

If we want to play a role in the future, we should consider encompassing and acknowledging all species inhabiting this planet with respect and esteem. Since we are all sentient beings, I communicate my concerns about our relation to nature through visual and auditive narratives. In order to widen our circle of compassion but also to provide a more inclusive perspective on life, I let plants tell their stories in a language that is understandable for us.

In the exhibition future sense, you can watch and listen to two of these narratives. One is about the sexuality of plants. In the second installation, a cloned plant tells the story of its short life. Because plants can speak. They communicate on a much larger scale than we do. Their language is global.

Author: Elena Eigenheer

Institute Hyperwerk, Bachelor Project 2019