Thesis Info

Thesis Title
The Sensorial Invisibility of Plants: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry through Bio Art and Plant Neurobiology
Laura Cinti
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
University College London (UCL)
Thesis Supervisor
Dr Mark Lythgoe
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Slade School of Fine Art (in interdisciplinary capacity with the Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging)
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
bio art, plants, plant neurobiology, art science, interfaces, sensoriality
Abstract: 200-500 words
The thesis, titled ‘The Sensorial Invisibility of Plants: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry through Bio Art and Plant Neurobiology’, is an interdisciplinary art practice-related research that focuses on the complexities in recognising plant behaviour. It explores the contradistinction between scientific studies that reveal cognitive capacities in plants and our subjective perceptions where plants appear motionless and devoid of sensation. The difficulties inherent in perceiving plants’ interactions with their environment are concerned with physiological processes in plants, their morphological adaptations and temporal disparities. Thus, techno-scientific interfaces utilising genomic and electrophysiological approaches offer unprecedented scopes to extend our perceptual boundaries and reveal plants’ behavioural qualities. In biological art practices, scientific approaches and methodologies are deployed to empathetically explore intrinsic biological expressions in plants through aesthetics, genetics and electrophysiology. The thesis critically examines issues thrown up when scientific strategies are incorporated into artworks by questioning the role of the interfaces (i.e. green fluorescent protein or electrodes) and their authenticity in revealing aspects of plant responses and expressions. The practical aspects of the research draw on experimental approaches (using time-lapse, fluorescence and nanotechnology) to modulate plant motion into our frame of reference. In doing so, it investigates whether our subjective experience can be consolidated with the sensorial image of plants emerging from the sciences. Accompanying the written thesis is a visual documentation of the research’s practical component in the form of a multimedia DVD.