The Poison Garden, Adele Wilkes, 2021
born 1980 Lismore; lives and works in Melbourne/Naarm
The Poison Garden – Part 1: A Dark Spell Slowly Fading & Part 2: Whelm (excerpt) 2021
single channel HD video, stereo sound
Collection of the artist
This work is part of an ongoing multimedia documentary project about a psychedelic botanical garden and the reclusive polymath couple who tend it. As the camera lingers on the garden and its bounty of medicinal and psychoactive plants, we hear the gardeners speaking with respect and deep knowledge about the historical uses, cultural significance and molecular composition of the plants they collect and imbibe.
Adele Wilkes draws upon theories of the ‘more-than-human’, a cross-disciplinary discourse that critiques the centrality of the human subject. Working from the increasingly urgent premise that human individualism and exceptionalism have led to environmental catastrophe, it proposes a more ethical, reciprocal approach to cross-species interrelationships.
The Poison Garden suggests a relationship between human and more-than-human that goes beyond caretaking – one in which plants are equal protagonists. It prompts the question, could the effects of plant-derived substances on human consciousness and sensory perception be considered a form of plant expression?
See the full work inside the exhibition Still Life.