With contributions by Ursula Biemann, Roosa Laitinen, Nadja Mazouz, Julia Mensch, Christiane Meyer-Stoll, Uriel Orlow, Linda Schädler, Patrícia Vieira, and Yvonne Volkart, as well as by students of the Institute Art Gender Nature HGK Basel FHNW.

In the current ecological crisis, which is also a social, psychological and political crisis, there is a growing realization that humans must connect and ally with non-human beings in new ways. In particular, plants—those beings long perceived as other, alien, immobile and passive—are gaining new attention. Not only do plants take care of human and non-human animals, traditional agricultural practices and recent botanic research show that plants have a profoundly rich sensorium: they speak, communicate, make decisions, are responsive and adaptive and help shape environmental conditions. In short, plants have agency, they have an “extended cognition” (as plant theorist Michael Marder has noted) and thus can be defined as intelligent and as “active” subjects.

What does this mean exactly? What does it mean that plants “have rights”? And what impact does this have in “our” dealings with, or rather in our coexistence with, plants?
The symposium Agency of Plants takes up these questions and examines them through various presentations and joint discussions. The symposium is organized by Christiane Meyer-Stoll and Yvonne Volkart. It is made possible with a contribution from the H.E.M. Foundation, Vaduz.

A cooperation of the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein and the Institute Art Gender Nature HGK Basel FHNW, with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the ETH’s Prints and Drawings Collection, Zurich

Kumu_Symposium: Sandra Maier
Photography: URRA Art Residency