Human-Plant Interactions in Borrowed Scenery

Posted July 3, 2012 by Maja Kuzmanović

In his essay ‘Plan/Plant/Planet’ Terrence McKenna suggests that plants should become organisational principles for human society in the 21st century. At FoAM we’d like to test this premise through an Alternate Reality Narrative (ARN). In Borrowed Scenery we will conduct experiments with an alternate reality (past, future or parallel) where plants are a central aspect of human society. We hold up the magnifying glass to reveal vegetation where we would usually overlook it: in cracks between buildings, on our plates, in emerging technologies and age-old stories.

Whereas in our reality humans cultivate plants (or so we think), in Borrowed Scenery plants are able to cultivate humans and absorb human culture into their growth and form. By ‘borrowing’ the setting of everyday life in the city, we infuse our habitual activities such as walking or eating with a vision of a possible future where endless economic growth is replaced by an atmosphere-based economy. For the current installment of Borrowed Scenery we are designing an intricate programme of online and on-site activities in Ghent, as part of Electrified, a project initiated by the Vooruit, SMAK and Timelab.

Besides McKenna, we’re also guided by the visions of Hildegard von Bingen, Masanobu Fukuoka and other explorers of the porous edges between inner and outer realities, and the animal and vegetal aspects of our cultures. Borrowed Scenery is our largest production this year, with participating members from all FoAM studios, as well as collaborations with Stevie Wishart, Martin Howse, Time’s Up and others.