Exercise nr. 13
November 2020
Design Academy, Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Participants: 3

Exploring plant based identities through a series of photographs where participants pose with relational objects and costumes. The idea of expressing or capturing identity through photographs or paintings stretches way back, where costumes/clothing, backdrop and objects found in the frame tell the perceiver about elements of that person’s story or identity. In an attempt to photograph a mediated-plant-identity participants were asked to wear a costume and interact with ceramic objects (relating to plants) in front of a plant backdrop.

This experiment also relates to a question of impact: “Might it be more powerful to wear a plant shirt than it is to listen to a lecture about global warming?” Put another way, how can we embrace, celebrate and embody support for our ecosystem that is inviting and playful.

Though this exercise was not intended to be impactful for the participants it played an important role in the development of following plant exercises. Where costumes and props played a vital role.

Props and costumes
As part of preparation for these photoshoots several relational objects and costumes were created to signal the plant identity. Throughout the creation a plant fandom approach was used (why-not-ism). Partly inspired by Fern-Fever (Pteridomania) a Victorian era craze for all things fern. Where fern motifs could be found in ceramics, textiles, furnitures and sculpture alongside a botanical interest, where amateurs and professionals collected fern specimens and grew them in Wardian cases. In a similar manner a collection of ceramics and textiles was created for the plant portraits.