C4 ORGANIC PLANT PHOTOGRAPHY AND POSTHUMOUS INTIMACIES

Magdalena Zamorska


An involvement with dead plants plays a vital role in several non-camera photographic projects on which I will draw: PLANTLINE by the Trio Organiczne (Organic Trio), Chernobyl Herbarium by Anaïs Tondeur and plant radiography by Joanna Stoga. In my text, I would like to explore the phenomenon of intimacy-with-the-dead in the context of non-camera plant photography.

The optical apparatus essential for camera photography creates distance between the photographed and the photographer. I believe that the case is different with non-camera techniques. Some of them, such as anthotypes, chemigrams, rayograms, or radiography, are based on immediate bodily contact between the plant and the human. Instead of close-ups, this promotes actual closeness. 

The non-camera techniques of plant photography require material entanglements and physical contact with plant cadavers and cut-ups. In my argument, I will address a range of key issues which are central to this thematic field: What does the death of a plant actually mean? What practices of communing-with-the-deceased may be relied on today as a matrix for plant-human posthumous bodily intimacies? I will argue that the consciousness of the plant-human entanglement increases during the preparation process, which may be comprehended as a process of funeral preparations. 

Magdalena Zamorska holds a PhD in Cultural Studies (2012) and is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Wroclaw (Poland). Her research interests include human and non-human movement, social choreography, intersections of the humanities and sciences, critical posthumanities, new materialism, and critical plant studies. She has completed basic Instructor in Choreotherapy training (2010), published a study on butō dance in Poland (Intense Bodily Presence: Practices of Polish Butō Dancers, 2018) and completed the project Multimediality: The New

(Electronic and Digital) Media in Polish New Dance for the Polish Institute of Music and Dance (2014). At the moment, she is involved in the international collaborative project STELLA (Somatic Tech Live Lab) and is researching for her new project on plant ethics for dance and choreography.

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