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Cover Image for the exhibition Woven In Vegetal Fabric: On Plant Becoming
curated by ©Charles Rouleau

Entry #8 26.01.2022

Phytotone

Charles Rouleau

In the second chapter of his video piece Nightlife [1], the artist Cyprien Gaillard presents footage of non-native trees in Hollywood that appear to be dancing to a looping sample of the chorus of Alton Ellis’s Black Man’s World. These trees are the “the inhabitants of the margins that give the city its character”. [2] Even though the whole piece presents a disparate assemblage of ideas not all linked to the question of plants, this chapter invites the beholder to ponder upon the marginal place of plants through the process of anthropomorphization. These plants are commingled within urban spaces and entangled within the human architecture. When Timothy Morton writes, “Hasn’t what is called ‘landscape architecture’ always really been a clumsy dance of humans and nonhumans in whose medium the building appears, like a crystal inside a chemical solution?” [3], Gaillard’s work inspires another set of questions: which music are they dancing to? What makes plants groove?

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