Tarot and Ethnobotany Tutorial

We are joined by Paola Orlic and Claud Biemans at FoAM Brussels for an afternoon's tutorial on the themes of ethnobotany, Tarot, and storytelling. Paola has made a remarkable and exquisite compendium of the history, iconography, symbolism, archetypes, and botanical associations of the Tarot cards, replete with illustrations and samples of Tarot artwork through the ages. Meticulously researched, each card that constitutes the canonical Major Arcana is discussed in turn in all its rich multidimensionality. Guided by Paola, we will explore this remarkable material, looking especially at the tales entangled in the occult and ritual symbolism, esoteric lore, and abiding viridian meditations surrounding both Tarot and botany. Claud, a chemist, science writer and botanical guide will engage Paola in a conversation about plant stories, medicines and rituals. The afternoon will be spiced up with musical invocation of Viriditas by musician and composer Stevie Wishart and archetypal foods by Rasa Alksnyte.

Following this tutorial, a small coven of designers will participate in a week-long intensive workshop with Paola to devise an original set of Tarot-plant stories and iconographies. The results of this workshop will seep into an interleaved augmented reality narrative - its roots founded in the archetypal journey of life represented by the Tarot cards, its branches and fruits in the foliations twining through virtual and sensual viridian realities - presented to the public later this year under the auspices of the PARN project.