artist statement

My artistic practice draws on media studies, olfaction, botany, and ecology to consider positions of receptivity and marginality as valid and active political and communicative positions. I look to biological definitions of communication to broaden my sense of communication, to consider: How is sensing sensual? How can the material of my body interact with other materials and bodies, and what kinds of negotiations occur, especially outside of linguistic, verbal, or numeric exchanges? When something is distilled to a numeric exchange, what is lost and what is gained?

I look specifically to plants, and their powerful positions of passivity, to developing practices of receptivity. In one body of work, I rewrite, remix, and retune artistic media like cinema, literature, and radio for the perceptive capacities of plants.  In these projects, I position myself in a supportive role - as an editor, translator, or technical assistant to the plant actors and agents. In signal to nose, I transform a community space into a broadcast room for a simultaneous scent and radio broadcast of Green Leaf Volatiles (the green-smelling signals of plant warnings) alongside an evolving playlist of youth climate activists and community contributions.  In written by trees and land of words, I facilitate the creation of novels and poetry authored by plants, reversing literary gestures by querying an oak tree in a durational project using sensors, custom software, and algorithmic gestures. In phytovision I make video in the portion of the light spectrum perceptible to plants, shooting at a high frame rate to slow the video to plant time.

My goal is not to claim a knowledge of plant experience, but rather to reposition the human / plant relationship. Is there something to learn in taking take a more passive position? Can practices rearranging traditional hierarchies allow a new way to value the marginal, develop a comfort with ambiguity, and be with the pain of realizing oneself as the aggressor? Are there postcolonial practices to embody by reconsidering the ways in which we treat the other? Can practices of receptivity momentarily disorient us from the anxieties and failures of anthropocentrism and orient us toward reparative work?


Lindsey french is an artist and educator whose work engages in gestures of sensual and mediated communication with landscapes and the nonhuman. She has shared her work in places such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago) and the International Museum of Surgical Science (Chicago), Pratt Manhattan Gallery (New York), and in conjunction with the International Symposium of Electronics Arts (Albuquerque and Vancouver). Publications include chapters for Botanical Speculations, Why Look at Plants, and becoming-Botanical, and poetry for the journal Forty-Five. Her work has been featured in an essay in Leonardo and discussed on podcasts for Creative Disturbance and Bad at Sports. She currently teaches as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Studio Arts at the University of Pittsburgh.