How to become a “plant-person”? —Meshworks from Amazonia to China

2023.03.04 Saturday 14:00


706 N. 1st St.798 Art Zone, 2 Jiuxianqiao Rd., Chaoyang, Beijing

Moderator: Clement Huang

This book club will gather about 20 viewers to introduce and share three articles about the wonderful relationship between plants and humans, exploring their multiple levels and possibilities in global regions and different cosmologies. The three articles are Tim Ingold's "Lines: A Brief History", Glenn Shepard and Lewis Daly's "Which Plants Are People? Which People Are Plants? The Multinatural Landscapes of the Amazon", and Jean Levi's "The Pharmacological Universe in Dream of the Red Chamber".

Tim Ingold's concept of "meshwork" proposes an alternative way to describe the mutual connections and interactions between elements in a system, replacing the traditional metaphor of "networks". In a "meshwork", elements are not connected through external links or relationships, but rather intertwined through processes of growth, development, and transformation.

In the cosmologies of many different cultures, the concept of the soul can embody the deep entanglement between humans and plants. The Matsigenka people in Peru believe in the plant soul, which is not simply a living entity, but rather an organic whole that connects with humans and the entire natural world. In China, medicine is not only a substance for treating diseases, but also a complex cultural phenomenon that involves literature, art, and social life. In Dream of the Red Chamber, drugs like "Ren Shen Yang Rong Wan" are closely related to the aristocratic way of life and the romantic, painful images of literati bodies in literature.

About the Moderator:Clement Huang

Born queer and rebellious, Clement Huang is an innovative curator based in Beijing. With a deep commitment to avant-garde ideals and a passion for subversion, he tirelessly pursues the creation of strikingly beautiful and intellectually stimulating environments that confront the status quo, even in the most challenging social conditions. As an aesthete and anarchist, his curatorial practice is marked by an unwavering desire to produce a poetics that pushes the boundaries of what is possible in the contemporary art world.

Deeply informed by his interest in religious grand narratives, which he sees as key to overcoming the mental trauma inflicted by oppressive and authoritarian regimes, Huang perceives art as a form of sublimation. He endeavors to compensate for the shortcomings of modernity with ab ontology for spirituality, and aims to establish environments that provide a transformative and redemptive encounter, challenging the dominant narratives of our era and fostering novel prospects for thinking and acting. Recent presentations include: Macalline Art Center, Beijing; I Imagine Angels (2022), The Cloisters Project, Macalline Art Center, Shanghai; The Elephant Escaped (2022), Macalline Art Center, Shanghai; Cacotopia (2021), Macalline Art Center, Online; The Deficit Faction (2020), Long March Project, Beijing, etc.

About the Project Curator: Yang Beichen

Dr. Yang Beichen is a researcher and a curator based in Beijing, China. He is the director of the Macalline Art Center (Beijing), and one of the members of the Thought Council at the Fondazione Prada (Milan, Venice).

Macalline Art Center is a practice-oriented site focused on contemporary visual inventions. The Center engages with artists and art groups by building physical and online communities through events and research. The Center is guided by the working processes of artists, constantly re-defining and testing itself and renewing perceptual and cognitive systems in contemporary situations and contexts.