Organized by the team of the SNSF research project Plants_Intelligence. Learning like a Plant: Yvonne Volkart (project lead), Felipe Castelblanco, Julia Mensch, and Rasa Smite.
Institute Art Gender Nature, HGK Basel FHNW

Current research proves what ancient practices already knew: plants are more complex beings than previously assumed. They are wide open to the world, sense it, respond to it, change it, communicate, and cooperate with many actors; they make decisions, solve problems, play with others. In short, they have agency and display forms of intelligence that are neither only human, nor machine based, but ancient and not always well-known. What does this mean for botanists, organic breeders, (indigenous) farmers, philosophers, media theorists, and artists? How can the different disciplines learn from each other? And what can we gain, in terms of eco aesthetic and (agro)political goals?

With this first interdisciplinary partner workshop, we bring together local and international practitioners and researchers exploring the many ways plants are and act in the world. The goal of this gathering is to present the overall project to the partners and the public, to work on the definitions of and alternatives to the debatable term “plant intelligence,” and to elaborate ways of cooperation and participation.

We try to narrow the following questions: How do I define “plant intelligence” and what are my references? Is the term relevant to me, or not? What thinking and coining do I prefer if I think about the agency of plants? What are my approaches and relations to plants and their way of being in the world? What are my methods and techniques? Do I understand plants as subjects, and if so, what does this mean?

26 April 2023
Auditorium D 1.02, Tower Building, HGK Basel FHNW

4 pm Welcome and introduction

Partner Presentations 1
Working with the Intelligence of Plants in Breeding and Farming
4.20 pm Christine Arncken and Mariateresa Lazzaro, FiBL
4.40 pm Heraldo Vallejo (online)
5 pm Coffee break
5.20 pm Hernando Chindoy and Media Collective Nambi Rimai (online)
5.40 pm Marcos Filardi (online)
6 pm Break and Snacks

26 April 2023, 6.30 pm
Michael Marder

The Senses of Extended Cognition in Plants: An Exploration
Studio Cinema D 0.01, Tower Building, HGK Basel FHNW

27 April 2023
Seminar room, HeK House of Electronic Arts, Basel
9 am Welcome and wrap-up

Partner Presentations 2
Tracking Plant Intelligence in Art and Science

9.20 am Birgit Schneider
9.40 am Ursula Damm
10 am Break
10.10 am Katja Tielbörger
10.30 am Alexandra Toland
10.50 am Coffee Break
11.10 am Team Plant Intelligence and Discussion
1 pm End

Prof. Dr. Michael Marder, Author and Research Professor, Department of Philosophy, The University of the Basque Country

Dr. Christine Arncken and Dr. Mariateresa Lazzaro, Plant Breeding Department of Crop Sciences, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL
Prof. Ursula Damm, Head of the Media Environments chair, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and artist
Marcos Filardi, Human Rights and Food Sovereignty Lawyer, Director Museo del Hambre, Buenos Aires (online)
Taita Hernando Chindoy, Inga Leader and representative from Wuasikamas Colombia (online)
Prof. Dr. Birgit Schneider, Professorship for Knowledge Cultures and Media Environments, Department of European Media Studies, University of Potsdam
Prof. Dr. Katja Tielbörger, Head of Plant Ecology / Director Botanical Garden, University Tübingen
Prof. Dr. Alexandra Toland, Professor of Arts and Research, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and artist
Heraldo Vallejo, Agroecologist and representative of Tierra de Selva Foundation, Colombia (online)

26 – 27 April 2023
26 April 2023 Auditorium D 1.02, and Studio Cinema D 0.01, Tower Building, HGK Basel FHNW
27 April 2023 seminar room, HeK House of Electronic Arts, Basel