Database for Animation Studies


Phytograms: Rebuilding Human–Plant Affiliations

This article proposes the phytogram, an image made by using the internal chemistry of plants in conjunction with photographic emulsion. First, a theoretical framework is set out, drawing inspiration from structural/materialist film theory, biosemiotics and perspectivism. The notion of plant sensations/perceptions is questioned, developing the real possibility of human–plant communication. Subsequently, a summary of the materials and methods involved in making phytograms is included in order to show how an inter-dependency of technological and natural elements can lead to evocative results and spontaneous animation. Instead of bringing inert matter to life, the image moves by itself. This practice can bring people together, sharing knowledge about their environment while enjoying the cohesion of a wider community and history of people and plants. Making such an extended community visible is significant with regard to a heightened awareness of the natural environment. Instead of preaching ecological propriety and austere behaviour, phytography offers a positive and fulfilling engagement with our living environment.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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