Gaian Ecologies - Camden Art Centre

Camden Art Centre with Susanna Davies-Crook and Sarah Shin as part of Ignota Books present 'Gaian Ecologies'

On this day of active research in the garden, artists, speakers and gardeners lead journeys and enquiries into organisms, slime trails and compost, and expanded ways of looking at life.

Knee-deep in swamps and water, pulling up clumps of mud and silt, Margulis studied the microbial in order to understand Gaia as a whole. Ignota’s Gaia Season echoes Margulis’ methods of hypothesis and experimentation to dig into the theories of Gaia and the practice of examining life on Earth.

Artists and speakers include Tamara HendersonTaey IoheTom JeffreysHarun MorrisonHimali Singh Soin and David Soin Tappeser, Wild Alchemy and Community Apothecary.

Ignota Books’ Gaia Season: A Body in the Form of a Planet celebrates Gaia theory and the influence of interdisciplinary biologist Lynn Margulis’ life and work.

Earth is a body in the form of a planet: a self-regulating organism sustaining life for the purposes of life. At the same time, the cell structures Margulis devoted her life to researching form our own world-skin: the dermal boundary that keeps us separate from, yet interrelated to, the planetary body and its multitude of species. As Margulis, Dorion Sagan and James Lovelock assert, we are not apart from Gaia but a planet in the form of a body.

Through creative approaches and practices, Gaia Season invites groups and individuals who are imagining our collective futures. From the microbial to the planetary, we look within to look out: to our bodies and the world, the universe, in a declarative or a gesture.


Schedule The Artists


Introduction to the event by curator Susanna Davies-Crook and Ignota co-founder Sarah Shin.


Writer and regular Frieze contributor Tom Jeffreys responds to ethical questions of scale – from microbiome to planetary garden – in the work of artists and institutions. Drawing on his own practice in relation to trees and discussing his book “The White Birch”, he will reflect on walking, writing and recent collaborative practices, and discuss how Gaia theory relates to and informs various contemporary art practices.

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Organised and edited by Harun Morrison.
Environmental Justice Questions is a growing compilation of questions for discussion and debate. Harun has invited a range of people including artworkers, scientists, activists, writers, theorists, architects, growers, natural historians and horticulturalists to propose questions relating to environmental justice. Different versions of the card game will have different contributors and designers. Design: Cody Lee Barbour. Drawings by Olivia Abächerli.

‘What Future Will We Dream When We Dream With Plants?’
This immersive session is an invitation to explore the dynamic relationship between the cosmos and plant kingdom. Experience co-creative partnership through alchemical philosophy, divination, social dreaming and embodied practice, using Jemma’s plant tarot deck. What future will we dream when we dream with plants?

What leaks out of our bodies, out of the planet?
Ongoing research sharing with Taey Iohe
The act of separating land from water is not about division; it is an act of creation. In the same way, separating sick bodies from the wounded planet is tightly connected to colonial actions, affecting those living by the water’s edge or at the end of the skin. What is the result of leaking out of this uprooting experience, land excavations, and exhausting bodies? How do both our earth and our bodies, in their defiance, release tears, lymph, hormones, bile, saliva, and embodied knowledge into an uncertain future and an unforgiving place? Artist and writer Taey Iohe will share their ongoing research on leak territories in personal and socio-botanical accounts.

Tapping into planetary turbulence, Our Quake Here Ever Feels by artist duo Hylozoic/Desires (Himali Singh Soin & David Soin Tappeser) transposes seismographs that track, trace and record earthquakes onto a speculative musical score. Interwoven with percussive responses and poetic interjections, the sounds tell a story of the earth’s tectonic core, its burning mantle, the trauma of extractivism and its cry for compassion.

Stalls, mini-workshops or offerings

Community Apothecary will present our project of collective herbal healthcare in Waltham Forest that is oriented around our medicine gardens, our communal learning and making of medicines. We’ll have remedies for sale and herbs to blend for teas, sharing knowledge about the healing energies of our garden-grown and wildcrafted herbs of the city and encouraging exchange of the rich traditions in our mix of cultures here in London – representing the diversity of land-based practices we can bring to restore damaged sociality and ecosystems in our world today.

Wild Alchemy Lab founder Jemma Foster presents her Astro-Botanical Remedy Deck (Laurence King 2023) alongside the Wild Alchemy Journal

Worms will hold a stall throughout the day. Worms is a non-profit print publishing platform showcasing the work of under-represented writers working in underground publishing. Worms Magazine is a literary style magazine that celebrates female, non-binary and marginalised writer culture whilst Worms Publishing works across form and genre to bring experimental writers to the literary top-soil. We publish weekly reading lists, book reviews and articles online through The Wormhole.

The Artists

Taey Iohe is a migrant art worker, a slow gardener, and a queer mother who creates and follows stories of decolonising botany as a practice through an Asian crip/queer feminist lens. Their approach fuses research-based work with personal narratives that challenge the socio-botanical entanglements within medicine culture, and climate justice. Taey is a co-founder of the Decolonising Botany Working Group and has presented a performance, A Refusing Oasis at Documenta 15 (2022). Taey holds a PhD in the programme of Gender, Identity and Culture at the School of English and Film, University College Dublin, funded by Writing On Borders. Taey is a working member of the Feminist Duration Reading Group and a resident at Somerset House. They also teaches Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art.

Jemma Foster is a wildcrafter, astrologer and practitioner of plant and vibrational medicine. As a multi-disciplinary artist, her work explores myth, plant neurobiology and interspecies communication. She is the author of Sacred Geometry (Octopus 2020) and Wild Alchemy Lab: An Astro-Botanical Remedy Deck (Laurence King 2023) and founder of botanical studio Mama Xanadu, film studio Semantica Productions and transmedia lab and curatorial agency Wild Alchemy Lab.

Harun Morrison is an artist and writer whose work often employs collaborative processes. His practice spans spatial design, text, video and sound. He is currently an associate artist with Greenpeace UK and Designer and Researcher in Residence at V&A Dundee, Scotland. His forthcoming novel, The Escape Artist will be published by Book Works in 2024. Since 2006, Harun has collaborated with Helen Walker as part of the collective practice They Are Here. Harun has recently contributed to the group exhibition Chronic Hunger, Chronic Desire in Timișoara, Romania, as part of the European Capital of Culture 2023 programme. Solo exhibitions in the last few years include, Dolphin Head Mountain at the Horniman Museum, London (2022 -23), Mark The Spark at Nieuwe Vide project space in Haarlem, Netherlands (2022) and Experiments with Everyday Objects, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, (2021). Harun continues to develop and repair a garden for Mind Sheffield, a mental health support service, as part of the Arts Catalyst research project, Emergent Ecologies, and is producing an evolving publication, Environmental Justice Questions commissioned by Mossutställningar, which he continues to circulate.

Environmental Justice Questions was originally commissioned by Mossutstallningar with additional support from V&A Dundee and APAP network. Question contributors in this iteration include:
Kat Cotta, Naho Matsuda, Rosalie Schweiker, Stella d’Ailly, Jane Trowell, Harun Morrison, Danika J. L Thomas, Graham Burnett, Holly Keasey, Vishal Parekh, Maymana Arefin, Anahi Saravia Herrera, Jessica El Mal, Åsa Össbo, Eva Sajovic, Owen Griffiths, Yasmine Ostendorf, Evie Muir, Fatima Alalaiwat, Andrea Ku, Mark Godber, Wood Roberdeau, Jared Gradinger, Jack Hannam, Chris Fremantle, Ireen van Dolderen, Rowan Lear, Taey Iohe, Felicitas Zeeden, Sandra Man, Siriol Joyner, Marjet Zwaans, Lisa Stewart, Liz Rosenfeld, Nazakat Azimli, Sophie J Williamson, Inês Neto dos Santos, Olga Grotova, Manon Awst, Ashley Edwards, Satpreet Kahlon, Luiza Prado O Martins, Gayatri Kodikal, Ayumi Paul, Elisabeth Del Prete, Phoebe Davies, Joseph M. Pierce, Ada M. Patterson, Kajsa Sahlin, Rauna Kuokkanen, Max Troell, Luja von Köckritz, Angela YT Chan, Melissa Barton, Rachel Pimm, Kate McIntosh, Oliver Ressler, The Mycological Twist, Jasmine Roha Wakefield, Niamh Riordan, Mary Jane Edwards, Maxwell Ayamba, Katy Beinart, Rahima Gambo, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, Rima Sonigara, Graham Harwood, Mandus Ridefelt, Jonas Staal, Adelita Husni-Bey.

Tom Jeffreys is an Edinburgh-based writer whose main focus is contemporary art that engages with ecological concerns. Tom is the author of two books: The White Birch: a Russian Reflection (Little, Brown, 2021) and Signal Failure: London to Birmingham, HS2 on Foot (Influx Press, 2017). His writing has appeared in Artforum, ArtReview, e-flux, Frieze, The Guardian, The Independent, New Scientist and The World of Interiors. He is currently working in collaboration with artist Kirsty Badenoch in response to old-growth forests in Scotland through experimental approaches to walking, writing and drawing. This will result in an exhibition at Staffordshire St Gallery, London (9-12 November 2023) and an artist book.

Hylozoic/Desires (Himali Singh Soin & David Soin Tappeser) is a multi-media performance duo whose work combines experimental poetry and original music in order to conjure borgesian, speculative futures and multiverses. H/D aspire toward a flat ontological ether in which all forms of life—stone, spirit, machine or human—are equal. They skew the linear imagination of time and space to produce divergences that elicit wonder. H/D’s research orbits around (non)place and histories of migration, transnationalism and environmental cosmism to learn from the multiple materialities of contemporary existence. They are concerned with the (poly)rhythms of love and the bea(s)t of belonging. Hylozoic/Desires use metaphor as an event, as a force of attraction that holds otherwise distant entities together.

Himali Singh Soin is a writer and artist based between London and Delhi. She uses metaphors from outer space and the natural environment to construct imaginary cosmologies of interferences and entanglements. In doing this, she thinks through ecological loss and the loss of home, seeking shelter somewhere in the radicality of love.

david soin tappeser is a drummer, composer and performance artist based between London and New Delhi. his practice explores socio-eco-spiritual-tempo-somatic dimensions of sound. his performances and compositions use rhythm to unearth, manipulate and deconstruct linear perceptions of time, interdependence and alterity. they hint at intercultural entanglements, parallel histories and extra-human frames of reference while thinking about environmental destruction and sociopolitical fissures.

Susanna Davies-Crook is a writer, curator and artist and currently holds the post of Curator of Talks and Research at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts), London and Head of Growth at Ignota Books. In 2019, Susanna worked from concept to completion with Jefferson Hack on Transformer: A Rebirth of Wonder at 180 Strand in the role of Associate Curator. Her writing has been published internationally including in Frieze, DAZED, Twin and LEAP Shanghai and co-runs Write Club at Soho House. Susanna studied at The Royal College of Art, University of California Berkeley, University of Leeds and University of the Arts London and is a graduate of the Faber&Faber novel writing course. She is also a fully qualified hypnotherapist D.Hyp, HPD (NCH), CH and yoga teacher.

Sarah Shin is a writer, editor, publisher, researcher and curator whose work includes making labyrinths, books, texts, gardens, games, scents, spaces, portals and practices. She is a founder and director of Ignota, a creative publishing and curatorial house; Silver Press, the feminist publisher; New Suns, a literary festival at the Barbican Centre; and Standard Deviation, a collective exploring the coincidence of psychic, geometric and inhabited spaces.