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Plantemic: A Philosophical Inquiry and Storytelling Project about Human-Plant Co-Existence during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Betty, Xie (2020) Plantemic: A Philosophical Inquiry and Storytelling Project about Human-Plant Co-Existence during the COVID-19 Pandemic. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Betty, Xie

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has created a particular shared human condition. Never in recent history have we spent so much time social distancing at home, living and working in relative isolation. For many of us isolating at home, our beloved and loyal houseplants became our sole companions; our existence interlaced with our houseplants, who are also living, breathing, possibly working, grieving, and connecting in times like this.
This project undertakes a philosophical and creative inquiry inspired by human-plant co-existence during this time of uncertainty and crisis. Specifically, it asks how might we understand human-plant relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic; and in particular, what might this indicate about our sense of our existence? Answering this question involved designing research methods that collected qualitative data on human-plant relationship during the pandemic and the making of Plantemic, an animated web series that tells the stories of the pandemic from fictionalized plant characters’ perspective.
In this journey, I have navigated discourses in design, foresight, media studies, psychology and philosophy. I explored how futurist storytelling should be re-approached in a time when we are experiencing thorough disruption and existential angst. To this end, I sought inspiration from love letters and break-up letters that plants’ human friends submitted as part of this project in order to uncover a story about connection, intimacy and acceptance between human and plants during the pandemic. Ultimately, I hope to present to you, through this report and the animated web series, that to make sense of our existence and to reorient ourselves, we must accept and cherish existence as not something solely puts humans at the centre, but rather existence as the transcorporeal, interconnected, and co-created existence with plants and by extension nature.

Date: December 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: design fiction; design research; pandemic; human-plant relationship; transcorporeality; existentialism; storytelling for healing; affect theory
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2021 15:35
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 06:40
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3168

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