Intelligence in Motion: Plants on Film

Introduced by Thomas Lamarre
Friday, October 14, 2022 - 7:00pm

This selection of short films stages different sorts of mediatic encounters with the worlds of plants. Wilhelm Pfeffer’s late nineteenth century Studies of Plant Movement uses time-lapse technology to observe plant responsiveness. Other films explore how plants animate, and are animated by, a host of natural technical, geological, and cultural processes, examining sites from London’s Westminster Abbey (Jayne Parker’s Triforium) to Montreal’s Mount-Royal Park (Daïchi Saïto’s Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis). They employ technological interfaces ranging from the mathematical precision organizing of the analog (Rose Lowder’s Impromptu) to the measured computational error of the digital (Jacques Perconte’s Àrvore da vida). And they consider a range of affective and ecological relationships, from the intimate memories of a Taiwanese family in Erica Sheu’s Transcript to environmental devastation in the state of Iowa in Emily Drummer’s Field Resistance. Finally, Lemongrass Girl evokes the deep histories of mythmaking and folklore in which plant intelligence registers in a fashion at once mediatic and magical. Introduction by Department of Cinema and Media Studies and Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations Professor Thomas Lamarre. Curated by Yangqiao Lu. (1899-2019, various countries, 79 min., 16mm, 35mm, and digital video)