"The leaf, while it is attached to the tree"
A shiny red eardrum pokes above the lush vegetation of a broadleaf forest in Guatemala. Shaped like a large flower, with three yellow pistils acting like antennae and rain containers for birds to drink from, her auditory tube curls down towards the earth leading to a large green cocoon. Flowers are an extraordinary technology for inter-species communication: their ferocious beauty holds the intersection between plant and animal worlds, where evolution and reproduction collide. We are invited into this calm, sensuous, vegetal womb, which renders dark as we close its door. Plants have no organs, their functions are not concentrated in a
single part of their anatomy: they breathe, perceive, feed, and reproduce over their entire extension. Inside this vegetal ear, we lose our sense of vision in an exercise of expanding our auditory one, of perceiving throughout our whole bodies. The tube gently filters the sounds of the forest. Here we can practice deep listening. Yet there is no spectacle: it is just an act of contemplation. We enter a state of meditative consciousness, vegetal mindfulness, total self-collectedness, or ‘samadhi’.
As we walk out and step into the light, we appreciate the vegetal way of attending to the elements by being together with them, by becoming them: sunlight, moisture, air, warmth, soil. This gigantic flower, this public sculpture, becomes an emotional technology to develop elasticity, empathy, and contemplation. By entering this vegetal, expansive world we can imagine others more nourishing for all species. Perhaps in 7,000 years flowers will take control of all human infrastructures, telecommunications will occur via pollen, petals will provide shelter and roots will feed our descendants. Can we envision a future where plants become oracles and each of our decisions is consulted with them?
There are many ways to be a flower.
Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz
*The text of the Vegetal Ear exhibition is divided into three parts,
which like a plant, its parts will grow over time throughout the
exhibition and its involvement in the wold,