Experimental interactive work presented at “Elbow Room” Online Exhibition
“Flora is Present” reflects on the impact that the digital space has had on people’s relationship with the botanical world and proposes a new window of dialogue between the viewers and the natural elements. Both confined in a domestic space, the spectator and the plant are put in a position of dialogue through an online video chat. When entering the work, people suddenly find themselves confronted with Flora, with no instructions on how to behave or what to expect. The one to one chat, allows the viewer to act freely in a sort of private space, there are no directions nor restrictions, just the human confronting the vegetal being. By purposely avoiding to provide any kind of information on how to experience the work, the piece also challenges the role of the spectator as “watcher” and of the subject of the work as “performer” or object to being looked at. Who is really performing and who is watching the other? Are people witnessing an event or on the contrary are they unconsciously performing for Flora? In which way is the digital space influencing the interaction between them and the natural element?
Although the digital context allows the artist to present Flora as a unique element of attention, therefore “forcing” the spectators to confront the natural element and overcome what is known as ” Plant blindness”, the online format may just increase the distance between the person and the plant, which appears as a still image on a screen. Even if the viewer is made conscious of the presence of another living being, this does not imply its consideration as a sensible intelligent organism and its visualization through a flat screen may not help at this cause at all; in fact, maybe the digital space is just counterproductive and instead of acting as a connector among the two parties, it reinforces an objectified vision of the botanical element within the domestic space.
“Flora is Present” is a pure experimental and, for certain extents, contradictory piece driven by the artist’s curiosity to “see what happens”.
It is a work aimed at the investigation of the different levels of engagement that people perform when confronted to a vegetal being and how this engagement is affected by the “non-physical” quality of the space of the encounter. Nothing is fixed, nothing is expected, and maybe nothing will come out of it, but it has the potential to surprise us.
The online Exhibition
As mentioned before, “Flora is Present” was presented in “Elbow Room” online exhibition, an interim show exploring abstracted themes on space and relationship with digital and estranged surroundings. As a group of exhibiting artists we also decided to curate our own exhibition, personally my role has been to create the website where to display the works and the graphics related to it, while others focused more on the publicity and advertisement of the exhibition on Instagram and other platforms.
Overall it has been a good experience since everyone seemed genuinely interested in putting a good show together and everyone did their part in making this possible.
Here is the link to the online exhibition if you wish to check it out!
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