Artificial Intelligence & Life Art

Auszeichnung - Award of Distinction

Confronting Vegetal Otherness - Skotopoiesis, Phytoteratology, Strange Encounters

Špela Petrič (SI)




URL:
https://www.spelapetric.org/

To investigate the consequences of a biotechnological and computational framing of life, the triptych Confronting Vegetal Otherness grounds the heteronomous human condition through risky relations with organisms traditionally thought to already exist in a state of environmental dependency, without an interiority or essence. Its three parts: Skotopoiesis, Strange Encounters, and Phytoteratology follow the implications of intimate encounters with plants at three different scales. Through the guidance of plants, the artist considers what it means to have and to be a body, and how the vegetal can bring into question representation, identity, and ethics.

+Skotopoiesis* is a 20-hour durational performance, during which the artist faces a field of cress, illuminated from behind by a strong artificial light. The continuous shadow signals the plants to respond with changes in shape and color, their bodies producing a living imprint of her silhoutte. However, the action also reveals an unsettled ethics towards plants and a fear of paralysis signified by the vegetative state.

Strange Encounters is a micro-performance, which unfolds under the microscope when algae and human cancer cells are introduced to each other on equal terms—as machines of biochemical labor. Surprisingly, the human cells absorb the algae, performing the first precarious step that once already led to symbiogenesis.

Phytoteratology concludes the opus addressing the molecular scale. The artist conceives plant-human embryos—phytopolutans. In lieu of seeds, artificial wombs—which contain hormones extracted from her urine—nurture, nourish, and imprint upon the baby plants. The plant-human monsters are thus beings of technological excess that fertilise the soil to breed cyborgian kinship and cultivate the vegetariat as a condition of dependencies and a matter of care.

Biography:

Špela Petrič (SI)

Špela Petrič (SI) BSc, MA, PhD, is a Slovenian new media artist and former scientific researcher currently based between Ljubljana and Amsterdam. Her practice is a multi-species endeavor, a composite of natural sciences, wet media, and performance. She envisions artistic experiments that enact strange relationalities to reveal the ontological and epistemological underpinnings of our (bio)technological societies and challenge the scope of the adjacent possible. Much of her recent work has focused on plant life. Her work has been shown at many festivals, exhibitions, and educational events. For her work she also received several awards including the White Aphroid for outstanding artistic achievement, the Bioart and Design Award, and an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica.

Credits:
SKOTOPOIESIS (2015)
Produced by: Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova Institute (SI)
Design: Miha Turšič
Mentors: Jurij Krpan, Lucas Evers

Lead producer: Sandra Sajovic
Producer: Simon Gmajner
Technical support: Jure Sajovic, Scenart
Photo: Miha Turšič, Miha Fras
Presented within Trust Me I’m An Artist Framework; Supported by: EU - Creative Europe, Leonardo da Vinci LLP, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana - Department for Culture, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst


PHYTOTERATOLOGY (2016)
Produced by: Zone2Source, Amsterdam (NL)
Design: Miha Turšič
Engineering: Scenart
Scientific supervisers: Dr. Remko Offringa and Dr. Omid Karami (Sylvius Laboratory – Leiden University)
Thanks to: KID KIBLA, Waag Society; Supported by: Stimuleringsfonds, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia


STRANGE ENCOUNTERS (2017)
Produced by: Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova Institute (SI)
Collaborators: Roland van Dierendonck, Dejan Koban, Federico Muffatto, Miha Turšič
Engineering: Scenart
Thanks to: Dr. Mateja Erdani Kreft (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Cell Biology), Dr. Martina Bergant Marušič (University of Nova Gorica, Laboratory for Environmental and Life Sciences), Dr. Peter Purg (University of Nova Gorica, School of Arts)
Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana – Department for Culture


CONFRONTING VEGETAL OTHERNESS
Support received from:


SKOTOPOIESIS – Supported by: EU - Creative Europe, Leonardo da Vinci LLP, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana – Department for Culture, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst
PHYTOTERATOLOGY – Supported by: Stimuleringsfonds, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
STRANGE ENCOUNTERS – Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana – Department for Culture