What are plants telling us? We can feel them, their presence, their movement against the air, their response to us and our presence. The object of deep studies and explorations about their senses and sounds, (their movements and ways of communicating, their structural performances of survival and resistance) plants are there for us to relate, to learn, to listen, to breath with. After a series of years observing, interacting and documenting plants, trees, wild herbs in urban contexts and other improvised found gardens and plants organisations, I felt that time was ripe for a gathering of documents, events, ideas and conversations around the subject. Having collected all sorts of various references, I wanted to share it. The show is a work that expands research and activates its sources to a live dimension. We will be exploring a series of works and ideas around vegetal life and its structural ways of being in the world.” – Esther Planas
Esther Planas, Federico Campagna, Jennifer Ipekel, Talking as Action: a CSM Art, Theory and Philosophy MRes14/16 collective project, José Jimenez Ortiz, Tuesday029, and Philosopher Michael Marder
Talks, film and documentaries screened, conversation based encounters. The notion of the series called either Close Encounters (as in Aliens meeting us or in reverse) and School of Calidity (de-schooling/doubting/de-skilling/de-program) is essentially about immaterial transferences of thoughts and ideas. But what makes of this exercises special, is that they almost don’t have a look, an aesthetic, or a will to be materialised beyond a basic archival and documentation procedure. The shift goes to time based, site specific, ephemeral disruptions and situationist actions. The integration of the soul of plants in to the conversation had matured over the years and has consolidated after experiences of alienation, cold, isolation wile resisting, communicating with plants and other creatures like birds. Conversations between humans are not directed, I act as a mere medium a facilitator, themes appear to us, come and go. People see things, unlearn, doubt, challenge their own perceptions. Opening up to just be there, presence and light in the company of all matter. Esther Planas
About the Symposium on the Threptikon on the soul of plants and us. October 2015 London.
Sound and images recorded as field notes on video. During the first School of Calidity in summer 2014 at London Fields park. There is an slight post- production manipulation of speed, there for affecting the sound too.
This is the capture of Threptikon on conversation with us, winds and other elements: https://vimeo.com/99882338
Physical Aural interaction with plants during a series of improvised exercises in Barcelona Cactus Garden summer 2013 https://threptikon.tumblr.com/post/127396557220/physical-aural-interaction-with-plants-during-a
Collaboration with Jennifer Ikepel
The first day of the Symposia, I meet Jennifer Ipekel, she is an artist who had just finished her masters at Chelsea College of Art, our encounter was totally magic, an amazing coincidence. She came with a friend to listen to Federico Campagna’s talk about Epicurus Garden of Egoists, and then, when seeng the film on The Secret Lives of Plants, she commented that she had had an ongoing project with plants and musicians where she will connect to a device, The Devorama (like the ones we saw in the Secret Life of Plants documentary, but more modern) and she will plug this small electronic heads and sensors, that will translate the plants sounds.
She was keen in coming by the next Sunday to test what we could do, as I had told her that I was interested in exploring movement and reacting to the sounds from the plant. She proceeded to introduce the sensors onto the plant’s soil’s small ratio between the space of the pot and we tuned the device for basic sound texture. We started to improvise with the plant, as I was moving and responding to its energy, the threptikon- soul-movement-voice of the plant sounded in variations of speed, intensity, and silences mediated by the Devorama and its lill plugs into the earth where she had her roots.
That day, the sound artist Mark Peter Wright, had come to see us, and he was very enthusiastic about the experience. He invited us to perform as part of his show, where he curated a series of sound based performances during a whole night in his gallery. Once we where at the IMT gallery space and we did the exercise again, the feeling was very different, from the context of our previous exploration during my show. We talked afterwards and realised that we wanted it to be more like science and to be less of an spectacle. Plants are sentient beings, we were not supposed to run a Plants Circus. E Planas 2015