A Program for Plants is a collaborative research project by Joshi Radin, Brian M. John and Linda Tegg, mentored by Dr. Giovanni Aloi. It is both a quest for connection with non-human kinds and the overlaying of cultural content, bringing cultural archives and transmissions into unlikely relationships in order to examine empathy and our capacity for empathizing with both plants and art alike.
A Program for Plants is supported by the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research & Collaboration through the EAGER grant program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Joshi Radin works independently and collaboratively on video, performance, image and writing projects considering themes of power, empathy and ritual. She is currently a New Artist Society Scholar and MA candidate in the Visual and Critical Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Brian M. John is interested in the ways that our relationship to the world is mediated by images and technology. He investigates this mediation through photography, video, sound, music and software programming. This diversity of tools and materials stems from a background in web design and development, networking, music, film and animation in addition to photography. As an image-maker and a technologist, John manipulates sound, light, color and space in order to reconfigure the latent possibilities of technical apparatuses. Selected group exhibitions include: Mercury, The LeRoy Neiman Center Gallery, SAIC, Chicago, Illinois, 2015; Surface Area, Studio 109, Brooklyn, New York, 2014; New Constructions, Pump Project's Flex Space, Austin, Texas, 2014 and Enduring Women, The Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin, Texas, 2013.
The underlying assertion of Linda Tegg’s work is that the contingent viewing conditions through which we orient ourselves in the world is constantly shifting. Tegg deploys photography, video and installation in various configurations to examine interspecies viewing behaviors. The Artist was the Samstag Scholar of 2014, The Georges Mora Foundation Fellow of 2012 and has been the recipient of numerous Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Victoria Grants. She has degrees from The University of Melbourne and RMIT University. Recent Solo exhibitions include; Cameratrap, Fresh Window Gallery Brooklyn, 2016, Grasslands, The State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 2014; Choir, Westspace, Melbourne 2014; Coexistence, MARSO Galleria, Mexico City, 2012. Selected group exhibitions include; Imperceptibly and Slowly Opening, Sector 2337, Chicago, 2015, Don’t Talk to Strangers, Random Institute, Brooklyn, 2014 and NEW13, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2013.
Giovanni Aloi is an art historian in modern and contemporary art specializing in the representation of animals, plants, and environmental concern in the visual realm. He studied History of Art and Art Practice in Milan and then moved to London in 1997 to further his studies at Goldsmiths University where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Art History, a Master in Visual Cultures, and a Doctorate on the subject of natural history in contemporary art. Aloi currently teaches modern and contemporary art for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sotheby’s Institute of Art New York and London and Tate Galleries. He regularly works for radio and TV and also is the Editor in Chief of Antennae, the Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. His first book, Art & Animals, was published in November 2011. Aloi is currently working on two monographs, one on taxidermy in contemporary art and another on plants in contemporary art, both due for publication in 2016.
A Program for Plants would like to acknowledge those who have influenced this inquiry, both artists and thinkers: Giovanni Aloi (editor - Antennae, inspirer and mentor), Claire Pentecost (the public amateur), Lindsey French (phytocentric investigations), , Andrew Yang (non-human networks), Laurie Palmer (The Lichen Museum), Michael Marder (weak thought), Donna Haraway (When Two Species Meet), Sector 2337 and Imperceptibly and Slowly Opening: A Group Exhibition About Plants, Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction), Timothy Morton (Hyperobjects, Ecology Without Nature), Rob Nixon (Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor), The Whole Earth Catalog and the Back to the Landers, Jane Bennett (Vibrant Matter), and Vilém Flusser (Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, etc.). Thank you to the Shapiro Center for their continuing support in these investigations.
We would also like to thank Yvonne Rainer for allowing us a special access to Trio A, and Linda K. Johnson. Special thanks to David Fox for his creativity, sustenance and fortitude.