ON VEGETAL POLITICS
This project is based on an investigation commisioned by HEK - BASEL:
The political struggles waged in Latin America around the issues of food sovereignty, deforestation, and the preservation of biodiversity have the multidimensional problem of monocultures as one of their focal points of dispute. On Vegetal Politics focuses on the case of soy monoculture and its accelerated expansion in South American territories. Soy is, among other things, essential for livestock and the meat industry. For some time now, and as if it were one of the phenomena that testify to the growing sensitivity of the earth as a kind of super-organism, soy monocultures have been threatened by the amaranth plant. Such is the hypnotic force that soy has on amaranth that industrialists are devoting a large part of their capital to developing technology to uncouple and neutralize the spell between the two organisms.
On Vegetal Politics - Installation
The work draws attention to the fact that amaranth, before falling into the status of a parasite, was a plant that occupied a valuable place in the ways of life of the indigenous peoples (such as Chibchas in Colombia) of these lands as its nutritional value is enormous. Amaranth is an essential grain that circulates outside the predominant agro-industrial matrix. The corporate solution to combat amaranth has been a transgenic war in which an immunological mutation is operated on soy plants in order to diminish the virulent contagion of the indigenous grain.
The work shows statistics of plant growth and representations of the market value of plants.
The work subverts agro-industrial technology to map the growth of technified agriculture in order to account for the plant politic relations between soy and amaranth. The growth (by means of state of the art computational modeling algorithms), development, struggle for nutrients, and in general, the hamalgam of complex relationships between the plants are followed by technical devices (such as Computer Vision accompanied by industrial machine learning growth modeling techniques) as well as the evolution of the market value of the plants, which describe step by step the evolution of the relationship. While infiltrating the embryology of plant development and the evolutionary biology of its drifts, this pseudo-industrial mapping reflects on the history of incessant colonization of South America.The technological development in question highlights the invisible connections between the soy-amaranth relationship and the seed privatization-monoculture-land sovereignty disputes connection.
The issue of plant parasitism, as well as the mapping and molecular details of its evolution from the logic of multinational corporations, allows us to understand how the problem has historically extended to the political-military intervention against the parasitism of "human nuisance races'', the rejection of "their claims based on a memory they do not want to forget" and the enormous resistance to the "pathological and pseudo mystical attachment to the territory.
Review on: https://manchesterwire.co.uk/top-5-artists-at-the-modal-gallerys-inaugural-exhibition/
more information on: https://read.dukeupress.edu/environmental-humanities/article/9/2/204/133011/The-War-between-Amaranth-and-SoyInterspecies