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Friday March 15 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min)
University Theatre Building | University Theatre
Within my practice as a performing arts curator and dramaturg I initiated the project Rooted Hauntology Coworking lab. Within this lab I invite artists, thinkers and thinkerers to engage with me in a practice of observation, care and being-with plants. Through this lab we have been engaging in a co-working practice with about 25 photosynthetic colleagues, including exotic plants, carnivorous plants and plain kitchen herbs. I investigate what sharing a working space with these plants can mean and what kind of relating we can initiate beyond either gardening or an exploitative or aesthetic objectification. Through a practice of beingwith I created a lecture-performance that consists of 2 main components: On the one hand a speculative thesis in which I connect the notion of home with the notions of das unheimliche and hauntology, resulting in the proposal that humans and plants have a hauntological relation towards each other.

Both humans and plants can be considered spectres in each others worlds, but that a breaking of worlds is possible. Academic language is mixed with poetic anecdotes and diary fragments. The text unfolds the difficulty of understanding, communication, the potential of violence and abuse as well as a hopeful search and a recognition of the autonomous life of the other. Alongside the lecture I worked with light-artist Vinny Jones on an installation in which, through the use of bio-sensors, the plants operate the lighting system in the space.

The lecture-performance addresses the problematics, the complexity, the pain, the uncomfortable impossibility of communication al the while using our spectrality as an opening, in order to be hopeful and speculative rather then pessimistic or escapist. In the next phase of this project I want to dive deeper into the effects the being-with plant-others has on our sense of time, productivity, hierarchy, appropriation and cocreation in terms of the creation of artistic work. And I am particularly keen to see how other modes of relating, working and creating can infiltrate the artistic institution. What plant-inspired strategies can bring change from within. Can practices of care co-exist with invasion and parasitic relationships? Does the parasite need it’s host to survive or does it hollow them out? How does symbiosis with the parasite change the host? I am currently working on a curatorial statement and proposal based on this practice of observation, being-with and infiltration that I would like to present and discuss in a poetic and imaginative way. 

Ingrid Vranken completed Theatre Studies at the University of Antwerp and Freie Universität Berlin. She worked as a dramaturg, producer and curator for multiple artists and arts organizations in Flanders. She is a member of FoAM, a transdisciplinary laboratory at the interstices of art, science, nature and everyday life. Aside from her work in the arts, Ingrid is actively engaged in the environmental justice movement as a member of Climate Express. Ingrid's work focuses on connecting the arts and ecology, not only as a theme of artistic work, but also as a way to transform artistic processes and practices. Her research focusses on new collaborative, curatorial and dramaturgical models, and a wider ecological and post-capitalist transition, that include non-humans. She is currently collaborating with artist Maria Lucia Cruz Correia on the project 'Voice of Nature – The Trial' in which a transformative juridical ritual is created that approaches the justice system in such a way that the voice of Nature can be heard. She is a graduate student in Expanded Curation at DAStheatre in Amsterdam, a two-year practice-based research master, where she looks into "Thinking like a forest" as an artistic, curatorial and ultimately organisational attitude. 
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