Floraphilia - Cinematic / Transmedial Herbarium

31.10. 2018

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Filmstill from "Pteridophilia 1", 2016 © Zheng Bo

With JUMANA EMIL ABBOUD, JOHN BALDESSARI, YTO BARRADA, LES BLANK WITH MAUREEN GOSLING, ZHENG BO, IGOR AND IVAN BUHAROV, DAVID CLAERBOUT, VERA DREBUSCH, BINIAM GRAFFÉ, MIRA RACHEL HANAK, CANDICE LIN, STEFFEN MEYN, BEATRIZ SANTIAGO MUNOZ, PAULA PEDRAZA, JESSICA RINLAND, MARTHIN ROZO, JUDITH RÖDER and PIA RÖNICKE

Free admission
In English

In collaboration with the AKADEMIE DER KÜNSTE DER WELT

Concept and organisation: Mathias Antlfinger, Verena Friedrich, Ute Hörner and Aneta Rostkowska


JOHN BALDESSARI’s attempt at teaching the alphabet to a house plant is an endeavour as comical as it is philosophical. His film Teaching a Plant the Alphabet from 1972 addresses the social character of linguistic signs but also the constant challenge of mutual understanding. Baldessari’s insistent lessons, of course, do very little for the scrawny plant, which remains unaffected by all the efforts of didactic authority. The plant’s dogged resistance to all pedagogical ambition as well as the human’s determined attempt at communication reach an increasingly absurd level.


But what kind of relationship, if not a linguistic one, do we have with the silent world of flora? Do the relationships resemble the ones we have with other people or animals? Or maybe they are more like the ones we have with spectres, ghosts or our dead ancestors, whose presence is felt but are impossible to interact with? What does it mean to pet a cactus in the age of the Anthropocene? Can we venture beyond the usual understanding of plants as aesthetic objects occasionally invested with spiritual meanings? What happens when we start to trace their economic value and entanglement within social and political history?


In this spirit, over the course of the evening, a unique cinematic and transmedial herbarium will unfold – a sequence of short films, installations and objects dedicated to the fascinating relationships between humans and plants with a particular focus on economic and political issues.

We also cater for your physical well-being.


List of movies:

– JOHN BALDESSARI, Teaching a Plant the Alphabet, 1972, 18:08 min.

– DAVID CLAERBOUT, Travel, 1996-2013, 12 min.

– Movie Excerpt: Burden of Dreams by LES BLANK WITH MAUREEN GOSLING, 1982, 2:38 min.

– JESSICA RINLAND, Adeline for Leaves, 2014, 13:24 min.

– ZHENG BO, Pteridophilia 1, 2016, 17 min.

– YTO BARRADA, The Botanist, 2008, 20:23 min.

– STEFFEN MEYN, Chronik einer Razzia – Wiesendurchsuchung am Hambacher Forst, 2018, 8:20 min

– BEATRIZ SANTIAGO MUNOZ, Ojos para mis enemigos, 2014, 14 min.

– IGOR AND IVAN BUHAROV, Selection of newer short movies

– JUMANA EMIL ABBOUD, I feel nothing, 2012-2013, 8:06 min.

– PIA RÖNICKE, Peregrinus, 2016, 20 min.

– CANDICE LIN, La Charada China, 2018, 13:45 min.

List of artworks presented in space:

VERA DREBUSCH, Konserven, 2012

BINIAM GRAFFÉ, Pietà, 2017
MIRA RACHEL HANAK, The hidden power, 2018

PAULA PEDRAZA, Humid thoughts from Advent of a Haunt, 2018
JUDITH RÖDER, Fenster V, 2018
MARTHIN ROZO, Drawings of Life, 2015

During the evening it will be possible to buy SURPLUS X FLORAPHILIA artworks. SURPLUS lies at the intersection of visual arts, poetry, fashion and activism. A limited edition of T-shirts and hoodies has been produced with slogans referring to the world of flora.


Floraphilia: On the Interrelations of the Plant World, Botany and Colonialism is a two-year project of the Academy of the Arts of the World in Cologne. It consists of an exhibition Floraphilia. Plants as archives in Academyspace (on view until 18 11), a symposium in the botanical garden and a sequence of events and exhibitions in 2019 (for example at SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin, Council in Paris, La Loge in Brussels and Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art in Kraków).

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

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