Plants have roots. As a consequence of this simple fact, they do not travel naturally, lacking the chance to experience the world’s vast diversity, and even missing out on the many subcultures and microclimates of New York City. In order to let flora encounter distant realms vicariously, conceptual artist Jonathon Keats presents a series of travel documentaries specifically targeted to the plant kingdom.
Given their ability to perform photosynthesis, plants are a fit audience for cinema. These travel documentaries exploit that affinity, screening onto plants’ leaves a selection of skies – the ultimate botanical tourist attraction – filmed in the United States and Europe. Since plants do not have human eyesight, and perceive light only in aggregate, footage is projected onto a scrim which diffuses the picture, streaming subtly changing tints of blue onto the foliage below. Strange Skies will be screened for a select botanical audience at the AC Institute from February 4th through March 13th, 2010. People are also invited to visit. But of course, human experience will be second-hand: Strange Skies is presented for the entertainment of plants.
About the Artist
Jonathon Keats is a conceptual artist, fabulist and critic residing in San Francisco and Northern Italy. Recently, he choreographed the first ballet for honeybees at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He has also exhibited extraterrestrial abstract artwork at the Judah L. Magnes Museum, unveiled a prototype Ouija voting booth for the 2008 election at the Berkeley Art Museum, and attempted to genetically engineer God in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, Berkeley.
Exhibited internationally, his projects have been documented by PBS, NPR, and the BBC World Service, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Nature and New Scientist, and Flash Art. He is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and is represented by Modernism Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
Image Courtesy the artist.