“Plant Revolution!”
              Sofia Lemos
              The “vegetal turn” in contemporary art has begun to explore the possibility that plants are sentient, and are thus in constant, contiguous, and contingent interaction with the world. Reflecting this growing trend, the exhibition “Plant Revolution!,” curated by Margarida Mendes, introduces parallels between plant consciousness, advances in genetic and cybernetic research, and visual culture. A video by Pedro Neves Marques, The Pudic Relation Between Machine and Plant (2016), displayed on an LCD screen, opens the exhibition. It depicts a looped interaction between a robotic hand and a Mimosa pudica, the iconic plant classified by Carl Linnaeus in the eighteenth century, known for closing in on itself when touched. Adjacent to the video is a display of research responding to the ideas in Teresa Castro’s “The Mediated Plant.” Castro’s essay attempts to reassess (and eventually redraw) the anthropocentric logic of appropriation that divides subjects from objects, placing humans in the former category and animal and plant life in the latter. Excerpts of the text appear next to films—among them the German expressionist Max Reichmann’s 1926 film Blumenwunder [Miracle of Flowers] and Zeline Rostliny [Green Plants] (1955), by the Czech botanist Jan Calábek—and extracts from Charles Darwin and Étienne-Jules Marey’s writings …

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