What the Flowers Know
mixed media collage, 11 x 8.5 inches
ingredients: vintage book cover and ephemera, dried plant parts, found objects, image transfers, mica, brads
When I made this piece, I was really thinking about this subject in the poetic sense: personification, metaphor, just to name a couple of literary devices that might apply. But I recently read a very thought-provoking and seemingly incredible article in the the New Yorker called The Intelligent Plant by Michael Pollan.
"The new research, he says, is in a field called plant neurobiology — which is something of a misnomer, because even scientists in the field don't argue that plants have neurons or brains.
'They have analagous structures,' Pollan explains. 'They have ways of taking all the sensory data they gather in their everyday lives ... integrate it and then behave in an appropriate way in response. And they do this without brains, which, in a way, is what's incredible about it, because we automatically assume you need a brain to process information.' " (PRI Science Friday)
Amazingly, he goes on to explain detailed experiments that show apparent presence of memory by plants, as well as responses to stimuli, such as hearing, and even the ability to learn. To me, this is poetic in itself, because it makes us aware that all living things are more alike than we ever thought possible. How could we not be connected, when we are made of the same stuff? Life started as a single cell, and grew and differentiated from that cell, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at the commonalities among different forms of life. You can listen to the podcast of Science Friday or read the article by following the links above.