Humanity’s place in the natural order is under scrutiny as never before, held in a precarious balance between visible and invisible forces.
From the microscopic threat of a virus to the monumental power of climate change.
Drawing on indigenous traditions from the Amazon rainforest; alternative perspectives on Western scientific rationalism; and new thinking around plant intelligence, philosophy and cultural theory, The Botanical Mind Online investigates the significance of the plant kingdom to human life, consciousness and spirituality across cultures and through time. It positions the plant as both a universal symbol found in almost every civilisation and religion across the globe, and the most fundamental but misunderstood form of life on our planet.
This new online project was developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the closure of our galleries due to the pandemic. The Botanical Mind: Art, Mysticism and The Cosmic Tree was originally conceived as a trans-generational group exhibition, but was postponed. In the meantime, we launched this complimentary online programme of new artist commissions, podcasts, films, texts, images and audio, expanding on and enriching the ideas and issues informing the show over at botanicalmind.online
During 2020’s period of enforced stillness, our behaviour could be seen to resonate with plants: like them we were fixed in one place, subject to new rhythms of time, contemplation, personal growth and transformation. Millions of years ago plants chose to forego mobility in favour of a life rooted in place, embedded in a particular context or environment. The life of a plant is one of constant, sensitive response to its environment – a process of growth, problem-solving, nourishment and transformation, played out at speeds and scales very different to our own. In that moment of global crisis and change there was never a better moment to reflect on and learn from them.
The Botanical Mind was curated by Gina Buenfeld and Martin Clark. The Botanical Mind Podcast Series was developed and produced with Matt Williams and Alannah Chance.