In 1905, the Austrian botanist Gottlieb Halberlandt (1854-1945) claimed that plants were capable of perception. According to Halberlandt, plants’ epidermal cells were convex and thus capable of sending images to an underlying layer op cells. His theory established a precedent in 1905, but is, in my opinion, still relevant today. Suppose it is true, that plants are capable of perception. Think of the enormous influence that would have on how we see plants and, just as important, how we relate to them.
In his book Plant Revolution, about how plants determine our futures, the Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso writes that while Halberlandt’s theory has been neither proven nor refuted, it could explain plants’ mimetic behaviour. Francis Darwin (1862 – 1929), botanist and son of Charles Darwin, endorsed Halberlandt’s theory, while another botanist, Harold Wager (1862-1929), used the epidermal cells of various plants literally as lenses.
Exploded View can be an enticing platform to (re)define the park from the plants’ perspective – plants as an acting and responsive organism. The potential for exchange between the participating artists as well as people from various areas of expertise (i.e. botany, biology, philosophy) offer numerous possibilities for collaboration and research.
From the very start of the study, I would like to apply Wager’s methodology. How did he create these images and what do they say about what plants actually ‘see’? Using his methodology, which images can we make in the park? What other conceivable possibilities are there to help people experience the plants’ perspective? How can exploding plants’ perception influence how we think about the future of the Amstelpark?