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Scenario #7 - Radical Ecology

How plants help us imagine new worlds
120 min video
14 May 2020

This event was streamed live on our website, Facebook and Vimeo on May 14th, 20.00 - 22.00

You have probably seen it before: mosses that cover paving stones, rocks or trees. These are non-vascular plants, meaning they don’t have deep roots. The first land plants appeared around 470 million years ago during the Ordovicium, a geological era during which life on earth rapidly diversified. Although the world has changed an awful lot since that time, the mosses are still here to this day.

In the last few years there has been a lot of interest in ancient plant life-forms, and we are still a long ways from learning everything there is to know. In fact, it is a feat we will never achieve. Developments in science and technology gives us more and more insights into natural processes. We have found that plants and trees communicate through underground networks of fungi that transmit water, carbon, nitrogen and other information, nutriments and minerals.

What histories lie stored in trees and plants, and what can we learn from the way they have survived on Earth for millions of years? How do artists portray the lessons that plant life has to teach us?

Antónia Szabari & Natania Meeker

Antónia Szabari and Natania Meeker co-wrote the book, ‘Radical Botany: Plants and Speculative Fiction’, excavating a tradition in which plants participate in the effort to imagine new worlds and envision new futures. According to both professors, the recognition of the liveliness and animation of plants has mobilized speculative creation in both fiction, film, and art.

Antónia Szabari is Associate professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She has written essays on the public sphere, early modern diplomacy, the history of botany, plant horror, and vegetal ontology. Her writings probes the power of fiction in a broad sense to think about society and the environment, preferably together.
Antonia Szabari
Antónia Szabari
Natania Meeker teaches at the University of Southern California in the departments of French and Italian and Comparative Literature. Her interests include feminist theory and thought, the eighteenth century in its more speculative dimensions, and plants on the move. She is currently at work on a project on eighteenth-century women authors entitled Illusion Without Error.
Natania Meeker

Ersin Han Ersin

Ersin Han Ersin is an artist, director, and creative director of London based experiential studio Marshmallow Laser Feast. Ersin’s art practice combines a wide range of disciplines including sculpture, installation, live performance, and mixed reality.

His work illuminates the hidden natural forces that surround us, inviting participants to navigate with a sensory perception beyond their daily experience. In these spaces, the known physical world is removed to reveal networks, processes, and systems that are at once sublime, underpinned by research, and fundamental to life on Earth.
Ersin Han Ersin
Ersin Han Ersin

Becky Ripley & Tim Atack (Forest 404)

Becky Ripley works for the BBC, where she can be heard as a producer-presenter of wild science stories in Radio 4’s ‘Naturebang’, ‘Blue Planet II: the podcast’ (2017) and ‘Planet Puffin’ (2019). She has won both national and international awards for her work. Together with composer and writer Timothy X Atack she developed the podcast Forest 404, an environmental sci-fi thriller in which facts, fiction and soundscapes confront us with climate change, extinction and loss. The podcast is paired with The Forest 404 Experiment: an online experiment in which listeners from all over the world react to sounds from nature. Sounds that we will, one day perhaps, be sorry to have lost.

Ken Wu

Ken Wu is an activist who is on a mission to save primeval forests. Most of us won’t question the importance of forests on earth. Forests make the earth and the climate livable and stimulate biodiversity. Yet we continue to cut them down on a large scale. How do we deal with our ancient trees, and what else can we do? What can we learn from primeval forests that have survived for such a long time? What about the ancient intelligence of trees and forests? Ken Wu fill will focus mainly on the ecology and politics of protecting old-growth and temperate forests to help avert both the extinction crisis and the climate crisis, and on organizing environmental campaigns.
Ken Wu
Ken Wu

Puck van Dijk

Moderator of this online evening is Puck van Dijk. Puck works as a philosophical discussion leader, moderator, and trainer in the public and commercial sector. She also works as a theater director is the co-founder and co-artistic leader of PLAY productions where she creates immersive performances that consist of an integration of film, theater and location.
Puck van Dijk