conference: light | sensitive | material, London, 1-2 Nov

October 28, 2019

Next 1 and 2 November 2019 I’ll participate in the conference light-sensitive-material at the University of West London.

In the presentation I’ll discuss a mutual re-operationalisation of vegetal matter and photographic technique in the context of experimental practices that took place in the laboratories of plant physiology at the turn of the 20th century. There, camera-less photographic techniques where used to measure and describe the growth and shape of plants. In the experimental set-ups that will be addressed, the formation of the photographic image and the formation of vegetal tissue coincided. The convergence of these two different forms of inscription of light will be discussed, as a space of transfers between plant growth and imaging practices linked to a parallel transformation of the visual surfaces of the planet.

To do this, the work of the Austrian plant physiologist Julius Wiesner will be presented. His use of cultural techniques of photographic measurement such as the Insolator, the Lichtflache or colour charts will be put in relation to contemporary discourses on photographic theory, as well as media theory developments such as Giuliana Bruno’s notion of the surface. Instead of being mere instruments that registered the behaviour of plants photographically, they were the sites where a specific form of plant behaviour was defined. This presentation will, therefore, present this work as a series of operations where the photographic was transferred to the growth of plants, and vice versa.

See the complete info about the conference here: