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08.07 6 pm Magda Jędra, “Bad Herb” – performance (50 minutes)

Performance (50 min)

Magda Jędra, 'Bad herb'

The Bad Herb performance is an attempt to develop a sensitive practice of being with rejected plants, learning about their needs and experiencing their causal power. For several years Magda Jędra has been deepening her knowledge of nature, looking for channels of communication between the human body and the plant body. The place from which she begins accompanying plants in their life processes is what she calls “the botanical body” for the purposes of the project: a body inscribed in plant ecosystems with porous, permeable boundaries, functioning in a network of mutual human-nonhuman entanglements and dependencies.

This time, the artist narrows her focus to wild, rampant and unwelcome vegetation – the kind that threatens not only the human need for order and control, but also the anthropocentric vision of reality. Weeds grow as they please. They put down roots where they are not wanted, they are always out of place. They grow even though they were not planted by anyone. They are everywhere, even though most of us don’t even notice them. No use for them – they proliferate, they take up space. By the way, however, they establish models for social adaptation techniques, urban survival and resistance strategies. Today’s political movements, after all, are thoroughly vegetal: acephalic, decentralized, of variable shape and structure. Drawing strength from rejection, they spread across the face of the earth and power.

In The Wicked Herb, we refer to the idea of the third landscape – French theorist Gilles Clément defined in this way places that are neglected, lush and biologically diverse, but unnecessary to humans because they are impossible to capitalize on. The concept of the third landscape, meanwhile, derives from the notion of the third state – a social group described by Emmanuel-Joseph Sieys in the 1789 manifesto of the French Revolution as nothing that demands to become something. Marginalized, weak bodies of people-plants overgrow third landscapes.

Magda Jędra explores the zones of contact between her own body and the environment, probing the space in search of possible points of contact and rooting – both on a physical and symbolic level. Interacting with the changing environment and initiating an exchange of kinetic energy, she combines work with stillness with elements of parkour, and through storytelling strategies enters into a discussion with human plant-blindness (plant blindness), which prevents us from noticing plants in their natural environment. By nurturing a relationship with the evil herb on an individual level, he sets in motion visions of social enactment.

photo: Monika Orpik