Communicating with plants, updating their relationship with and knowledge of witchcraft, inventing eco-technical systems where humans become superfluous, dancing with phytoplankton, planting herbicide-resistant gardens or planting virtual trees to offset the CO2 footprint of our digital life, performing the sick body with organ or molecular transplants, or synthesizing hyper-toxic green pigments, far from the images of the idealised pastoral nature... The OU\ /ERT artists open up debates around the pervasive greenness trope, get physically involved and bring plants and other symbiotic creatures into the limelight. Trans-species alliances that challenge anthropocentric claims in the age of ubiquitous greenwashing. Distrustful of green and superficial metaphors, they insist on the importance of situated knowledges related to our chlorophyllous fellow organisms, essential for all other forms of life.
Gilberto Esparza (Mexico)
Špela Petrič (Slovenia)
Quimera Rosa (France/Argentina)
Adam Brown (United States)
Agnes Meyer-Brandis (Germany)
Eva-Maria Lopez (Germany)
Joana Moll (Spain)
Francisco López (Spain)
Baggenstos & Rudolf (Switzerland)
Karine Bonneval (France)
Magali Daniaux & Cédric Pigot (France)
Jean Marc Chomaz, with Giancarlo Rizza & Vincenzo Giannini (France)
José Le Piez & Patricia Chatelain (France)
La Bruja de Texcoco (Mexico)
Lechedevirgen Trimegisto (Mexico)
Dance for Plants (France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium)
Tina Tarpgaard (Denmark)
Roger Rabbitch (Spain)
Pedro Soler (Ecuador)
Tiziano Derme & Daniela Mitterberger (Italy/Austria)
The OU\ /ERT project: Phytophilia - Chlorophobia - Situated Knowledges puts anthropocentric assertions to the test in the age of ubiquitous greenwashing that masks the damage that unfettered capitalism inflicts on ecological and social systems. This artistic action project opens up fields of questioning beyond the symbolic, and emphasizes the importance of a material, epistemological and political commitment of the arts at a time of environmental crisis. Thus, the invited artists physically engage in investigating possible forms of aliveness, and favour an approach to bodies as multidimensional symbiotic entities, transversal and trans-species ecologies, while deconstructing ontologies based solely on human individuality.
OU\ /ERT thus questions the tendency of modern human civilizations to want to "green everything" as hyper-compensation. Based on a misinterpretation of vegetation, the human takes 'green' to be a symbolic analogy of 'natural', whereas the perception of the electromagnetic spectrum corresponding to 'green' reveals above all an anthropocentrism: the human eye distinguishes preferentially and with the greatest acuity the colour green, because of biological evolution, whereas this wavelength is useless to the photosynthesis process of plants whose chlorophyll absorbs blue and red light by photosynthesis, but reflects the emission spectrum corresponding dominantly to green as 'residue'. As humans are inclined to take this spectral surplus for the very essence of the plant, this misunderstanding also leads them to reduce the plant to its photosynthetic function, or to its capacity to sequester carbon dioxide. This paradox leads us to a mistrust of green metaphors, while insisting on the importance of situated knowledge about chlorophyllous organisms, which are the vast majority on our planet and essential for all other forms of life. Three main axes run through this project of exhibitions, performances and artistic and scientific education :
• a tendency of "plantamorphisation" in art and philosophy, which not only includes a reflection on the notions of centrality and individuality, but which is articulated through artistic attitudes in which the plant is both a figure of thought and a collaborating agent;
• the deconstruction of the symbolic and superficial use of 'green' as a masquerade, supposedly synonymous with ecological and vegetal;
• the integration of recent research on the sensory modalities of plants and traditional knowledge on pharmacopoeia, using non-anthropocentric speculations in order to transform our sensorium, and to increase our perception of the environment and the current climate conditions.
An important place is being given to the question of agency of other nonhuman organisms and experimental systems, to their very micro-performativity, rather than focusing on the human techne, while highlighting contemporary philosophical thought that advocates the continuum between species and their microscopic interconnections. Hybrid art forms, inspired by Science and Technology Studies (STS), are explored that promise to open up perspectives for reconsidering non-human otherness, potentials and agency through plants, animals and micro-organisms. Emphasis is also placed on what plant company means for witches, alchemists and shamans who have developed, in different cultures and contexts, techniques to overcome the visible and access other realities. This goes hand in hand with the very concept of situated knowledge, as put forward by Donna Haraway: "We seek … not partiality for its own sake but, rather, for the sake of the connections and unexpected openings situated knowledges make possible. The only way to find a larger vision is to be somewhere in particular."
Curated by Jens Hauser and Aniara Rodado.