"The Secret Life of Plants will be shown without the picture and described by gardeners" in white capital letters on a black background

PHOTOPHAGIA: The Secret Life of Plants

Ontario Culture Days

As part of the province-wide exhibition DO BLUE BUTTERFLIES EAT PARTS OF THE SKY?, artist Aislinn Thomas“>Aislinn Thomas will be screening her new work, PHOTOPHAGIA: The Secret Life of Plants will be shown without the picture and described by gardeners. Working with the 1979 documentary, The Secret Life of Plants, Thomas has invited community members who have relationships with plants (community gardeners, florists, biologists, master gardeners, farmers, etc.) to each describe a short section of the documentary. These descriptions have been woven into the existing soundtrack of the film, and will be presented in a public screening.

The Secret Life of Plants is a 1979 documentary based on a book by the same name. The content of the movie has been critiqued as pseudoscience, yet continues to inspire reverence for plant life. The soundtrack was created by Stevie Wonder, a fact that conspiracy theorists hold up as evidence that Stevie Wonder is not actually blind. Stevie Wonder was likely able to experience the visual aspects of The Secret Life of Plants through a simple technology: audio description. In recreating the film using audio description, Thomas will highlight the immersive and colourful way a film can be experienced without using sight.

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Image courtesy of Aislinn Thomas.

Aislinn Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes video, performance, sculpture, installation, and text. She culls material from everyday experiences and relationships, creating work that ranges from poignant to absurd (and at times straddles both). Her recent works explore the generative potential of disability and access—her own and others’—while pushing up against the conventions of audio description. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include the WRO Media Biennale in Wroclaw, Poland; Talk Back at Flux Factory, NY; and A distinct aggregation / A dynamic equivalent / A generous ethic of invention: Six writers respond to six sculptures, a commissioned project for the Walter Phillips Gallery at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Banff, AB.