PHOTOPHAGIA: The Secret Life of Plants, 2019
Courtesy of the artist
The Secret Life of Plants is a 1979 documentary based on a book of the same name. The content has been critiqued as pseudoscience, yet it continues to inspire reverence for plant life and a sense of cosmic interconnectedness.
The soundtrack was created by Stevie Wonder, a fact that conspiracy theorists offer as evidence that Stevie Wonder is not actually blind. Yet Stevie Wonder was able to experience the visual aspects of The Secret Life of Plants through a simple technology: audio description, provided in a casual way.
Gardeners, florists, plant-scientists, herbalists, master gardeners, farmers, foragers, plant-eaters, and plant enthusiasts were invited to each describe a scene of the film. Much like conventional audio description, these informal descriptions are woven into the documentary which is screened without the picture, inviting “viewers” to sit in the dark together. – Aislinn Thomas
Community description by Rachael Chong, Yvonne Ip, Aura Linsley, Theo Linsley, Maya Linsley, Sara Brubacher, Patti Lennox, Abhi Dewan, Kai Reimer Watts, Clara Jenner, Rodger Tschanz, Fan-Ling Suen, Janet L’Abbe, David Shumaker, Chris Earley, Candace McCutcheon, Anna-Marie Larsen, Marcel Visser, Dennis Murphy, Stephanie Jenner, Felix Morrell, Marlene deGroot-Maggetti, Sally Ludwig, Lea Tran, & Maria Brown.
Editing and tech support by Nathan Saliwonchyk.
Produced by Ontario Culture Days, 2019.
The artist gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts’ support of the research and creation of this work.