Breath is Invisible: Invisible Life Force of Plants

19 December 2020

Invisible Life Force of Plants (2020) Installation

Materials: Cyanotype, Unique Lumen Print (Silver Gelatin (RC))


The Invisible Life Force of Plants evolved from research I have been doing around economic botany in the 17th – 19th centuries and how everyday plants we associate with one place in reality came from another. During that period it was often for reasons of economic, power and pride, played out against the backdrop of transatlantic trade. These materials were transported around the globe for food, medicine, religion, beauty and love. While plants are irreplaceable food resources for humans, we consume plants for other reasons as well. Many food species have a medicinal value due to the plethora of allelochemical compounds they possess. Mary Seacole, the British-Jamaican nurse and healer was known for her extensive use of indigenous herbal medicines.

“I was working through this idea, and during lockdown I took walks everyday and collected the plant matter I found. I would make prints of them, identify them with an app called PlantNet, record the names in both English and Latin, and date them. It became a botanical library of my walks and also a visual diary of a strange and surreal period. The thing that really struck me about working with the paper was that if the plant had any life left in it, it would create an aura around it that was almost like the plant was trying to breathe – it would leave its own invisible breath on the page graphically.”