Artists Talya Baldwin, Vhils
Format Site-Specific Installation
Exhibition dates April 2014 - March 2015
Location Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, Middleton St, Bethnal Green, London E2 9RG
Phytology is an action-research project bringing together artists and botanists to explore the ecology & medicinal properties of wild plants and weeds common to derelict and undeveloped urban sites. The partnership of artists and botanists will seek to create a fresh language in which to challenge perceptions of the value of un-manicured growth, revealing practical biomedical usefulness, and suggesting a wider eco-connectivity.
The project aims to question ideas of value, and in particular the perceived low value of common weeds and plants. It will do this by its context, stressing the apparent incongruity of a meadow in such a place. The meadow itself will have been developed from a planting scheme devised by ethno-botanist Dr. Peter Giovannini, using common plants chosen for their biomedical potential. The project will also investigate the relationships among peoples perception of herbal medicines and their contemporary & historical role in society.
The scheme will draw on scientific information articulating the biomedical properties of common plants such as nettle, dandelion and ribwort plantain, presenting an alternate version of work generated by units such as Kew Gardens Sustainable Uses of Plants Group and Chelsea Physic Garden. The plants medicinal potential and biomedical value qualities will be re-visioned by commissioned artists who will endeavour to reach new audiences not necessarily attuned to both botanical & biomedical information.
Collaborators include Caitlin Elster, Colin Nightingale, Naseem Khan, Melissa Thompson, Dr Peter Giovannini,
Talya Baldwin, Vhils, Michael Smythe and the Teesdale & Hollybush TRA
* phy·tol·o·gy - n. The study of plants; botany