Conference Presentation

Rushton, S. 2023. MAKING §~KIN. An Elastic Continuum symposium.
AuthorsRushton, S.
TypeConference Presentation


What must be cut and what must be tied if multi-species flourishing on earth, including human and other-than-human beings in kinship, are to have a chance?

Donna Haraway(2016).

Seeking to co-evolve the human relationship with the often-neglected plant world by reconsidering 'nature', its representation and our feelings towards it through exploration of other ways of being; Stephanie Rushton's research and practice, questions myths of human supremacy, interweaving ecological, surrealist, and dystopian narratives with a diffractive approach, recognising the entanglement of matter and meaning (Barad, 2007). Recent discoveries in botany and plant physiology are urging expanded philosophical and ethical engagement with other than human worlds. Connecting what we know about plant biology and experiencing what it might be like to be a plant seems an almost impossible leap. Inspired by the legacy of Surrealist visual art and the study of methodologies of automatism, Stephanie is currently working with plants, offering them an opportunity to communicate, express their 'aliveness' and command a measure of autonomy through the co-creation of an artwork. Deprivileging the human creator acknowledges the plants as living performers in their own right. A recent lens-based project focuses on time-lapse footage featuring growing plants (and fungi) filmed over extended periods in the controlled environment of a photographic studio. Technology allows us, in some small way, to enter the private lives of plants by making the invisible, visible, by condensing the time scale of their growth, to recording the imperceptible sounds of their communication; all the while remaining mindful of the fact that this is still an anthropomorphic perspective. We are a galaxy away from truly understanding what it is to be a plant, our last common ancestor dating back six hundred million years, but ironically, it is only through anthropomorphism that we are able to identify with them.

Haraway, D.J. (2016). Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press.

Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke University Press.

KeywordsPosthumanismurrealism; New Materialism; Ecology; practice; Anthropocene; Critical Plant Theory; Surrealism ; Art; Lens based
ConferenceAn Elastic Continuum symposium
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Deposited20 Nov 2023
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