Artist Rachel Pimm produces sculpture, video, and performance that explore environments and their materialities from the point of view of non-human agents such as plants or minerals. (The Great Exhibition of) The Work of Cash Crops examines plants that have been produced for commercial value, their biology and their stories. Visitors can listen to a living installation environment of specimens as the plants’ biodata is translated into a soundscape by an artist-modified ‘midisprout’, a device for the sonification of this data. Throughout the day, a series of readings, talks and interventions by artists, gardeners and researchers including Rachel Pimm, Leah Borromeo, Cecilia Cruz, Somang Lee and Mark Spencer reflect on the ecologies, economies and politics surrounding these species. Printed contributions include a recipe by artist Jasleen Kaur and more. Part of the Serpentine’s General Ecology project.
12pm: Living installation
1pm: Reading by Rachel Pimm
1:30pm: Talk by Mark Spencer
2pm: Reading by Cecilia Cruz
2:30pm: Conversation with Leah Borromeo
3:30pm: Living installation and plant B2B
Throughout: Drawings by Somang Lee
Leah Borromeo is a journalist and filmmaker at the crossroads of art and journalism. Described as “redolent with mischief” by the New Internationalist, much of her work involves personal narrative, public and private space, social architectures, the environment and the language of journalism.
Cecilia Cruz is from Michoacán, a state on the Pacific Ocean to the southwest of Mexico. She works in London as a Stained Glass Artisan. Through her interest in Mesoamerican culture and food she presents Sacred Seeds a workshop that invites guests to experience a spiritual and historical journey. Exploring the culture of Maíz with ceremonies, poetry, mythology and Tamales, a dish dating back to around 8000BC.
Somang Lee is an illustrator and performance artist based in London. Careful looking, collecting and recording the natural world through drawings lies at the heart of her work and she has been keeping a plant diary since 2016. Somang has worked on a wide variety of commissions including illustrations for Botanical Gardens at Kew and several books on flowers for Pavilion Books.
Dr Mark Spencer is an experienced and internationally respected botanist. His expertise covers many disciplines including forensic botany, the plants of North-west Europe, invasive species and the history of botanical science. He also spends a large amount of time studying the plants and fungi of London.
Rachel Pimm (Harare, 1984, lives London) produces sculpture, video and performance that explores environments and their materialities, histories and politics often from the point of view of non-human agents such as plants or minerals. She is interested in the potential of surfaces and matter to transform. Previous work has been presented in London at Whitechapel Gallery (2018) Chisenhale Gallery (2015) Royal Academy (2016) Hales Gallery (2017) and residencies include Hospitalfield, Scotland (2016) and Rabbit Island, MI, USA (2017) She is the current Whitechapel Gallery writer in Residence, is working on a long-term collaborative project about the elements in the periodic table and lectures in Fine Art at Camberwell College.