The Visitors, An Exercise in Plant Agency 2017

Hugo Moline and Heidi Axelsen

Cypress & gum trees, biodegradable plastic, soil, plant seeds, steel, leather, construction scrim, video.

MAMA Albury and Blue Mountains City Art Gallery.

What if we acted altruistically for the benefits of the plant world? What would our world look like? This exhibition explores what can of devices humans would need and how humans may behave differently if they were to become plant agents.

Plants mostly seem to recede into the background, the base and stage for the lives of faster moving creatures like us. Yet we depend entirely and absolutely on the lives and labours of the plant world. We are here because they are here. If we are their guests, we are rather inconsiderate ones. We farm them, we garden them, we prune and transplant them. We harvest them and process them. We eat them and wear them. We use their bodies to house ourselves. Like unwanted visitors we depend much on our hosts to support our endeavours and we take much more than we return.

We must learn not just how to collaborate but how to conspire with plants…we need to tap onto their desire for forms of life that are not for us. We must reconstitute what Anna Tsing (2015) might call a planet fit for “collaborative survival”. If not, their undoing will truly be our undoing.

Natasha Meyers (2017) ‘Photosynthetic Mattering: Rooting into the Planthroposcene‘ in Moving Plants, edited by Line Marie Thorsen, Rønnebæksholm Press: 123-129.


Lightscoop House 2017

Reworking the rear of a century-old cottage in the upper Blue Mountains to bring in the sun and watch the seasons change.

The design approach was formed between two desires, respecting the existing house and getting real sun into the house during harsh Katoomba winter. The addition sits behind the existing house, pulled back enough to introduce a high north facing window to pull in the light and sunshine to passively warm the house. The addition is a bit like a little sister to the old house, peeking over her shoulder.

The exterior is clad in rescued golden cypress timber and the interior with plywood. The custom double glazed windows are made from recycled hardwood and open the house up to the beautiful garden.

The bathroom has the feel of a tiny japanese sento with a sunken bath. The wall opens up to the garden so you can have a hot bath in the in the crisp air of winter and to make a plunge pool for the kids in summer.

MAPA Art + Architecture

An art and architecture collaborative working between the social and the spatial.

All images by Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline unless otherwise credited.