For a while now we’ve been using the term ‘patabotany’ to describe a hybrid between ethnobotany (the study of cultural, spiritual and medical uses of plants) and Alfred Jarry’s 'pataphysics, the science of imaginary solutions. In projects PARN and groWorld, patabotany is becoming a colloquial term. Our online game germinationX and the foraging app Boskoi are currently in the process of being brought into the 'pataecology.
You can find traces of patabotany in FoAM's physical and digital spaces, so we thought we should dedicate a short post to it. Patabotany poses the question: what if the metaphors, cultural rituals and myths associated with plants could be discovered in their physical properties – in their shapes, colours and functions? What if mushrooms were in fact aliens attempting to communicate with humans, and what organs could mushrooms and human grow to improve reciprocal communication? If red roses were able not just to symbolise love, but write love letters themselves through chemotropism guided by lovers’ pheromones? Patabotany is a cross-pollination between myth and reality: it is an interpretation of interpretation, an abstraction of abstraction, emerging at the edges of poetry, magic and biology. Patabotany subverts the contemporary drive to instrumentalise culture and nature into economic or utilitarian constructs. It describes a world where the believable is grafted onto the improbable, where logic is pollinated with a hybrid of sensuality and paradox, where botany and permaculture mutate into an epic of nurturing and seduction in relentless cycles of living and dying.
(to be continued...)