The sustainability discourse has largely played out in the domains of natural sciences and technology, with recent contributions from the social and political sciences. However, our individual and collective actions have lagged behind and the actual problems of sustainability have become worse in the same period. The Roots & Seeds project addresses this topic. Roots & Seeds XXI. Biodiversity Crisis and Plant Resistance is an international cooperation project between Ars Electronica (AT), Leonardo-OLATS (FR), University of Barcelona (ES) and Quo Artis (ES) as lead partner, and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
With this project, we propose that we can get better action and behavioral commitments to sustainability by using art and science practices, approaches, techniques and aesthetics to develop passion and emotional connection for sustainable organizing and living. The goal is to promote habits that take care of our environment and specifically our plants, contributing to our botanical literacy. Roots & Seeds XXI activities (residencies, workshops, forums, talks and exhibitions) serve the purpose of transnational circulation of cultural professionals, art production and research focused on the biodiversity crisis of the vegetal world. The project aims to reflect on the biodiversity emergency, analyzing from different perspectives the transformation, adaptation and resilience of the plants, while promoting the intersection of art and science as the main platform to raise awareness of these issues.
The project finished its open call in spring 2021, with Marit Miklepp being awarded the residency grant, and Posthuman Studies Lab and Laura Cinti receiving production awards. The resulting works are shown in this year’s theme-based exhibition.
Cartography of a Garden – Podcast and card game
Annick Bureaud (FR), Perrine Serre (FR), Jean-Yves Leloup (FR)
A series of podcasts based on a deck of cards consisting of a series of questions especially formulated for the Roots and Seeds XXI’s Garden Cartographies taking place in Barcelona, Linz and Paris during 2021. Visitors will be invited to play the game and engage with botany through their subjectivity and personal experience.
Guidelines for an emotional cartography of a garden
Gabino Carballo (ES)
An interactive, transdisciplinary publication that reimagines our relationship with botany, based on Gilles Deleuze’s dérive. In the format of a DIY kit, the guide proposes a series of activities which take its audience on a journey through time and space, and is designed to encourage a posthuman, emotional connection to surrounding plants through an “introspection discovery” in a garden, park or forest.
Feral Automated System: ULTB-1
Posthuman Studies Lab (RU)
The project outlines the interconnections between vegetal and computing systems in a vein of current ecological crises and diverse narrations about alternative futures. Excavating Soviet narratives of building a common world that embraces not only humans, but animals, plants and machines, we created a network composed of both vegetal and digital parts that include chips and internet protocols, along with phytomining technology and plant-based computing architectures.
Living Dead — On the Trail of a Female
Laura Deborah Cinti (IT/ZA)
Living Dead — On the Trail of a Female (2022) is a biodiversity-focused project involving the search for a female mate for one of the rarest plants on Earth, the extinct-in-the-wild male cycad — the Encephalartos woodii.
La peau du monde – A Living Herbarium
Anaïs Tondeur (FR)
Anaïs Tondeur took part in the Roots & Seeds XXI’s Garden Cartography in Paris and developed a photographic protocol where photosensitive paper plates were placed under and behind plants and exposed to the sunlight.
Joaquín Jara (ES)
Ephemeral installation made with the handwritten notes, drawings and paintings of the Barcelona Garden Cartographies’ participants, reflecting on the complexity of interrelations between human and vegetal life.
Theater of Vegetal Appreciation
Annick Bureaud (FR), Leonardo/OLATS (FR)
An experimental hybrid publication based on the contributions —notebooks sketches and writings—, podcasts, photographs and exchanges produced by the participants of the Roots and Seeds XXI’s Garden Cartography in Paris. The publication comprises the event’s documentation cut, reassembled and woven together in eight stories/maps both on paper and online.
Partners: Quo Artis (ES), Ars Electronica (AT), Leonardo/Olats (FR)
Funding scheme: Creative Europe
Roots and Seeds XXI is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.