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Plant Thinking – Listening – Feeling | A Leonardo/ISAST LASER Talk


Due to the latest Government advice, Plant Thinking – Listening – Feeling | A Leonardo/ISAST LASER Talk will no longer take place at HOTA, and instead will livestreamed online.

Click here to register for the livestream.

Join us for an evening of talks about the art and science of working creatively with plants. At this event, research scientist Monica Gagliano and artist and curator Danni Zuvela will reflect on their work with plants in the lab, the studio, and the field, exploring the ways plants can be understood as sensing and communicating beings.  

This special event at HOTA is a Leonardo/ISAST LASER talk convened by Elizabeth Stephens and Grayson Cooke, programmed as part of the public program to support the exhibition Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson.  

Monica Gagliano: “Feeling for Not-Knowing: A Radicle Approach to Plant Science” 

Scientists are trained to think that “feeling” is not simply irrelevant but antithetical to their experimental methodologies. That scientists are not simply objectively trained minds but also bodies that feel has been an important perspective for reimagining scientific knowledge—bodies situated in time, place, and moved through relations. In this talk I explore how a scientist comes to make sense of feeling and knowing – and the relations “between” – throughout changing experimental configurations in pea plant decision-making, and I offer an invitation to explore creative and collaborative practices of science-making.   

Danni Zuvela: “Why Listen to Plants (When you can Look at Them)?” 

The idea that plants are sentient beings is a persistent theme in human history. But what was once the preserve of mystics, hippies and folklorists is increasingly being shown to have a significant basis in science: plants are aware of themselves in their environment, they feel and they communicate. This talk will overview artists and experimental musicians working – sometimes controversially – with plants, grounded within the world of plant-listening and told from Danni’s perspective as a curator and artist working with plant sound. 

Access the livestream

This event will not be available to livestream until Thu 5 Aug, 6pm.

Click here for access

About the speakers

Monica Gagliano is a Research Associate Professor in evolutionary ecology. A former fellow of the Australian Research Council, she is Research Associate Professor (adjunct) at the University of Western Australia and a Member of the Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of Sydney. She is currently based at Southern Cross University where she directs the BI Biological Intelligence Lab as part of the Diverse Intelligences Initiative of the Templeton World Charity Foundation. Her work has extended the concept of cognition (including perception, learning processes, memory) in plants. Her latest book is Thus Spoke the Plant (North Atlantic Books, 2018).

Danni Zuvela is a curator and artist whose work explores the agency of non-human others.  As Artistic Co-Director of Liquid Architecture, the national sound art organisation, she helped generate a context for artists working with sound and listening, developing research-based investigations into sonic phenomena, sound as a social currency and political acts of listening. Since 2018, she has been working on the curatorial project Why Listen to Plants? which encompasses exhibitions, performances, workshops, publications, and a curriculum. As an artist, her SEAWEED SOCIETY project cultivates an appreciation for seaweed from a queer ecology perspective, while her ORCHID HOUSE project listens from the perspective of endangered species, drawing together research from scientists, home gardeners and orchid enthusiasts to transform spaces into environments in which the plant’s voice is centred.

Keeping You Safe

To keep everyone safe while at HOTA we have a COVID Safe plan and are using the new Check In Queensland app. Please make sure you keep up to date with Queensland Government guidelines at


Monica Gagliano image credit: Frances Andrijich
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