Plant Data: Beyond our Understanding of Plant Communication
🌐🌲This month we share our latest news, from our recent publication on plant communication, to our first online event and online resource page.
We hope you are all enjoying the last days of summer (if, like us, you are in the northern hemisphere) and that you have had a chance to spend some quality time offline. After a few weeks of hiking in the mountains of Goís and surfing off the coast of Lisbon, we are back with a busy schedule.
We are kicking off September by joining two exciting networks, the Ki Futures Pilot Programme and the Future Materials Bank working group, as well as announcing our recent publication on plant communication for HUM Contemporary, our first online talk and discussion event on sustainable artist studio practices and our new online resource page.
Image credit: Plant Data (detail), 2021. Yota Ayaan in collaboration with Mariana Sottomayor and Stefaan Van Leuven. 4-channel audio installation synchronised with the sun. Fraxinus excelsior trees, sound mixers, laptops, power cords, stands, speakers. Duration: 24 hr loop. Galeria da Biodiversidade, Museu de História Natural, Porto, Portugal, 12 — 30 June 2021. Photo: Carlos Campos. Image courtesy of the artist.
Plant Data: Beyond our Understanding of Plant Communication
As plants are subjected to dehydration, they emit sound waves imperceptible to the human ear — ‘acoustic emissions’ at ultrasonic frequencies. As global warming causes droughts to intensify, this process of dehydration and the stress it causes plants is expected to increase. Porto-based New Zealand artist Yota Ayaan’s latest exhibition, Plant Data, at the Galeria da Biodiversidade, Centro Ciência Viva, in Porto’s Botanical garden, seeks to humanise the science behind plant sounds.
In HUM's recent publication, writer and curator Alice Bonnot considers the exhibition as it falls within the historic relationship between humans and plants, and the urgent lessons that can be gleaned from Plant Data in the current climate crisis.
"Over time, trees evolved to fit their environment, adapting to constantly changing climatic conditions, invasive neighbours, diseases and opportunistic pests. Deprived of the ability to move, these vegetal beings had to develop a different kind of creativity to survive, including communication and cooperation through the sharing of vital information." — Alice Bonnot.
Read the publication in full here on HUM.
Talk and discussion: sustainable artist studio practices
In April 2021, we launched the online survey 🌿 ‘How sustainable is your studio practice’ 🌿. On a voluntary-basis and without pre-selection, 131 artists of different ages, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds responded to the survey.
We have spent the last months analysing the data and writing a report to present the results publicly in a clear and accessible manner.
On Monday the 27th of September (save the date!), we will host an online talk and discussion on environmentally sustainable artist studio practices. We will discuss how far artists have come in adopting sustainable working methods and the challenges they face in doing so. This event will feature conversations between curators and artists who seek to reduce the environmental impact of their practice.
Part 01— Presentation of the survey report ‘How sustainable is your studio practice’
VILLA VILLA’s Founding Director and Curator, Alice Bonnot, will present the results of the online survey ‘How sustainable is your studio practice’. This survey report introduces some of the motivations for artists to seek to reduce their carbon footprint and waste output in the studio, as well as a number of limits and barriers they face in doing so.
The survey also features many useful pieces of advice, tips and recommendations from artists on their efforts to be more sustainable in the studio, including:
List of materials artists stopped using because it was harmful to the environment,
Examples of alternative materials they have found,
How they managed to reduce the waste created as a result of their practice,
Other steps they can take to further reduce their carbon footprint in the studio.
Part 02— Discussion with artists Felix Breidenbach, Tânia Geiroto Marcelino and Jessica Wetherly
Curator Alice Bonnot invites artists Felix Breidenbach, Tânia Geiroto Marcelino and Jessica Wetherly to discuss the results of the survey. Artists will share their own experiences, efforts and concerns about taking a more ecologically sensitive approach.
Part 03— Q&A
The public will be invited to participate in the discussion and to ask questions to our speakers.
With this event, we hope to empower artists to take steps towards sustainability in their practices and to give them the tools to initiate processes of change on a larger scale. This event is part of an ongoing research led by VILLA VILLA, which investigates ways to facilitate research, production and presentation of artistic practices that are respectful of people and the planet.
If you have any questions about accessibility please email us at ✏️ firstname.lastname@example.org, we will do our best to assist you. Closed captioning, live transcription, translation and other forms of effective communication are available upon request. We also encourage you to email us if you cannot afford to buy a ticket to the event.
The survey report will be available for free download on our website at the end of the online discussion.
Online resource page
We are delighted to announce the creation of a new 💡RESOURCE PAGE💡on our website where we share information about ongoing research, articles and investigations around social and environmental sustainability within the arts.
Our objective in the long run is to create a large online resource page where art professionals, artists and curators can come together to rethink planetary conditions within the arts and access new tools for more sustainable practices.
Topics that we would like to cover includes emerging ecologies, more-than-human agencies, local communities as ecosystems, arts and culture in rural areas, eco-exhibiting and much more.
If you are interested in becoming a contributor, to help research and/or write about ways to make art practices more sustainable, contact us by email.