Botanical Wasteland – A world-making practice

Boogaerdt/VanderSchoot & Touki Delphine

Text: Irma Driesen


Discover the sources of inspiration of Botanical Wasteland: Donna Haraway, Ian Cheng, James P. Carse, Alberto Villoldo, Timothy Leary, Penney Pierce, Pierre Bastien.

There is a lot hidden in Botanical Wasteland. The work is trippy. All attention goes to discovering what you hear and see. A hand ... does what? Does a machine initiate with a spring? What kind of mysterious ritual have we ended up in? What is the meaning of all these actions?

You hear text, or fragments of text, but what is said exactly (there is a voice that speaks) is not always easy to fathom.
Yet that text is interesting.
Or rather, the fact that a story is told.
Without story, no world.
And making worlds is all about Botanical Wasteland, a world making practice.

It matters what stories tell stories. Donna Haraway/writer

Botanical Wasteland's motto comes from a lecture by Donna Haraway ("Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chtulucene: Staying with the trouble", 2014) in which she paraphrases Marilyn Strathern. According to Haraway, we have to destabilize stories, tell them again with other stories. Infect our minds. And "think we must" in times of trouble and mass extinction of species.

It matters what stories tell stories
It matters what thoughts think thoughts
It matters what worlds world worlds

It matters who tells a certain story, why and how.

Bianca about earthly survival
"We get dystopia hurled at us from all sides. That it's already too late. This does not stimulate at all because it leads to a kind of eco-paralysis. I don't need utopia, but I want to start hopefully in a certain way and end hopefully. Install the dysfunctional. The dysfunctional provides inspiration, vitality. I want to be back in wonder. "

Ian Cheng is an artist who makes live simulations that explore the capacity of living agents to deal with change

What is a simulation? Think of it as a video game that plays itself. A simulation is that which doesn't stop when the stories go away.

What is a world? A World is conceived when a creator decides to pick some part of reality and start believing in it again.

A World is a reality that promises to bring about habitable structure from the potential of chaos, and aim toward a future transformative enough to metabolize the pain and pleasure of its dysfunction.

Bianca about Ian Cheng
"I find it interesting that he incorporates the dysfunctional in his worlds and simulations as a creative force."