August 18th: “How to Interview a Plant” Presented by the Multispecies Salon

When: Monday August 18th, 2014 / Tuesday August 19th for Australian

Where: CUNY Graduate Center, Science Studies Suite, Room 5307, 365 Fifth
Ave, New York, NY

Join this event via live webcast: Google Hangouts (Monday August 18th:
Austin 6pm, New York 7pm & Canberra/Sydney 9am on Tuesday August 19th)

Speakers: John Hartigan (University of Texas at Austin), Erica Seccombe
(Australian National University) & Eben Kirksey (UNSW)


This event will explore the worlds of plants through the work of
John Hartigan, a cultural anthropologist who has conducted
ethnographic research among plants in Spain and Latin America, and Erica
Seccombe, a visual artist who works with digital media. Seccombe’s
practice-led research project “Grow: visualizing nature at nanoscale”
(linked below) uses 4D Micro-CT technology to enable an audience to
experience seed propagation at a scale enlarged well beyond the
natural proportion of the original process. Scientific imaging is used
by Seccombe to engage with plant worlds through both a process
of observation and subjective experience.

A deep engagement with plants requires a careful negotiation between often
distinct and sometimes contrasting knowledge projects in the sciences and
the humanities. John Hartigan details this tension in his forthcoming paper
entitled, “Knowing Plants: locating Sentience, Species and Genomes.”

“Botany is a science charged with classifying and understanding species and
genera. Increasingly, though, this field is riven by a split between
emergent approaches that rely upon genetic analysis and sampling of
populations, versus the long-standing work of taxonomist to identify plants
via their “behaviour” in the field. The second knowledge project is of more
recent vintage and features efforts to comprehend the sentient aspects of
plant life. A range of philosophers are speculating on and trying to
substantiate and observe “plant-thinking.” Such efforts are buttressed by
new work on plant sensorium and sociality. These knowledge projects are
largely oblique to each other, but they productively converge in an effort
to render plants as ethnographic subjects.”

Copyright The Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies 2014

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