Rooted Beings introduction

Read a transcript of the BSL

Welcome to ‘Rooted Beings’, an exhibition that asks us to reimagine our relationship with plants through new artworks and historic objects from Wellcome Collection and Kew Gardens.

Follow the BSL symbols on the object labels and scan the QR codes on your phone to watch me interpret two of the artworks: Eduardo Navarro and Michael Marder’s meditation on how to become more like plants, and Sop’s work ‘The Den’, on finding solace in nature.

There are also several large artworks and installations within the gallery space, two of which have sound played out loud: Patricia Domínguez’s installation in the centre of the gallery and in the corridor as you exit, and Sop’s film work near the end of the exhibition.

In Patricia’s space, the central green area with the striking standing totems, the sound has been designed by the artist to “build around the rhythm and space of a forest”. There are four main layers to the soundscape; they have been recorded with wood sticks, shakers and synths to represent the plants that are being exhibited in the totems: ayahuasca, cinchona, brugmansia and mandrake. The sound reverbs and intertwines; it is ethereal and expansive.

Sop’s new film ‘Turn your cloaks for fairy folks live in old oaks’, has an atmospheric soundtrack which layers birdsong and the humming of bees with harmonic non-verbal voice tracks and minimal electronic instrumentation.

Upon exiting the gallery through the corridor, there is another soundwork by Patricia Domínguez and Futuro Fosíl, which repeats some of the sounds from the central space – echoes of wood sticks, shakers and synths, which serve to soothe and calm us as we leave the gallery and join the world again.

We hope you enjoy your visit.