Hidden
to replicate, with authenticity, for camera that which occurrs out of self-care practice, out of necessity, to then recognise as aesthetically and critically valuable, guided by the plant, her energy, my armour /`/`/`
 

Hidden is a research and moving image project on the relationship between hidden disability and the companion-working plant. It marks a new trajectory in my practice that explores vegetal narratives concurrent in humans and plants, tracing colonial patterns of medicinal plant travel in the longer term.

It began as Tears on my leaves (above - 2020, 1min 42secs, single screen HD video, sound) - a tiny video portrait of the medicinal plant Callisia Fragrans endemic to Mexico. Her leaves contain flavonoids and phytosterols resulting in antibacterial and anaesthetic properties. I grow the plant at home and make a tincture from her leaves to help ease muscle and nerve pain caused by fibromyalgia. While Callisia's 'tears' are a result of guttation whereby droplets of sap form along the edges of leaves of some vascular plants, this first person narrative from the point of view of the plant suggest symbiotic human-plant entanglements.

Music by Samuel Holloway.

Tears on my leaves premiered as part Chlorophilia exhibition at APT Gallery, Deptford, 2-6 December 2020 curated by Paul Malone and Nicola Rae. Fibromyalgia is a neurological condition that manifests in physical pain and sensitivity affecting the entire body.

 
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Soft Forest is the most recent continuation of Hidden project. It is a text piece that was first presented at Uprooting the Anthropocene Symposium, 22 July 2021, organised by TORCH, Oxford / Susannah Bain, Molly Masterson, and Huw Jones.
Download a tidy, regular version here, or a large print version here (PDF)
 

There are many sources - books, people, places, that have infomred Soft Forest in particular, but most importantly they are:

Matters of Care, Maria Puig de la Bellacasa
The Hidden Life of Trees
, Peter Wohlleben
The Plant Messiah, Carlos Magdalena
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryu Suzuki, available at https://bit.ly/3x08XwJ
Master Shi Heng Yi's ongoing practice www.shihengyi.online
Lake Farm Country Park, Hillingdon, London, UK
Nettlebed Common, Oxfordshire, UK
*Kew Gardens, London, UK

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