Research-based Open Call: Exhibition Participation „Bordering Plants“, Exhibit Galerie

Deadline: Friday, Mar 17, 2023, 11:00am

Bordering Plants
10.11.2023–February 2024, opening 9.11.2023
Exhibit Galerie

Submission deadline: 17.3.2023

Info sessions will be held via Zoom on 30.1.2023 19 h CET, 6.3.2023 15 h CET, Meeting-ID: 989 3412 8391

1. Content of the call – info about the show Bordering Plants

From November 2023 until February 2024 the exhibition project Bordering Plants will be on display at Exhibit Galerie.

Bordering Plants is an exhibition centred on explorations of plants as objects, typologies and taxonomies. The practice of botany includes the cultivation of plants in indoor spaces, gardens and green­houses. Though indoor plants and plant cultivation more generally are often associated with connectedness, peace, and tranquillity, recent criticism produced by scholars such as Ros Gray and Shela Sheikh (Goldsmiths University, London) show that the practice of botany in many coun­tries in Europe has a much darker history, emerging as a consequence of the exploratory voyages that European colonial powers sent around the world. During these voyages, plant samples were brought back as evidentiary spectacles, flaunting colonial extraction and emerging colonial mar­ket relations. Certain devices and architectural spaces were conceived to facilitate these move­ment and practices of plants across borders, including The Wardian Case. This 19th century early version of a terrarium functioned as a sealed protective container, and facilitated the trans­portation of foreign plants to Europe from overseas, ‘protecting’ the plants from dying due the impacts of planetary transportation, or urban air pollution in cities such as London and Paris. The Wardian Case is an artefact and symbol of the domestication and incubation of naturally growing flora into anthropocentric living arrangements – and in turn, a representation of colonial process­es of erasure and extraction in the name of Cartesian binarity. In the words of Sheikh and Gray, ‘the garden is a site through which to trace and question exclusions along the lines of race, class, gender, sexuality and disability, as well as to reconsider environmental justice, which itself cannot be seen in isolation from social justice, migrant justice, and labour rights… plants are the most instrumentalised of all forms of life, degraded and overlooked – rethinking our relationship with them must be understood as part of a wider rethinking of our relationship with each other.’

The exhibition: Bordering Plants emerges from this critical, historical lens. Within the interconnected fields of contemporary art, critical theory, architecture/design practice, plants, and their theoretical implications, are becoming an increasingly addressed phenomena and typology. We find plants, and images of them, in our books, exhibitions, cafes, and Instagram Feeds. We find plants on our sidewalks, urban gardens and bed side tables. We also find plants on demarcation zones industrial greenhouses, and surplus compost bins. This exhibition will consider, through transdisciplinary, research-oriented works, the notion of Borders and Plants through varied, critical lenses. Our interpretation of borders is not that of a stagnant entity, but, quoting Brett Neilson and Sandro Mezzadra, as a ‘methodology’ and ‘epis­temic viewpoint’ for thinking about ‘cast(ed)’ and ‘recasted relations, (…) of tension and conflict, partition and connection, traversing and barricading, life and death.’ The border thus becomes not a fact, but a methodological perspective suggesting binary, on various scales.

2. Artworks to submit

The curatorial team of the show, Carmen Lael Hines, Adam Hudec and Roberto Majano, are looking for works by students or graduates of the Academy, which consider consider one or some aspect(s) of the following:

  • The use, use-function or non-use of plants and flora in architecture, and the ways in which this has the capacity to disrupt or affirm borders of private//public, interior//exterior, architecture//na­ture;
  • Plants in relationship to interior design and wider urban planning;
  • The relation of plants with national borders, as transgressing, affirming or conjuring the nation-state and geographical boundary;
  • Plants on the rhizomatic scale of the online world, as a digital typology mass-circulated via online environments to gesture towards certain lifestyle typologies and human/non-human linkages;
  • The ontological significance of plants and botanics within the wider field of critical ecologies;
  • Plants and the sensorial.

Proposals for works of art in any medium or format are welcome, including: audiovisual works, performance, installation and sculpture. Proposals for texts to be included in an exhibition publication are also welcome. Proposals should respond to the curatorial concept outlined above in original and innovative ways, and can emerge from the field of art, architecture, design, and cultural/critical theory. Works which engage with plants and digital culture/technologies via audio-visual formats will be acutely considered, as well as works engaging with smell and sound.

Key words: Anthropocene, ecology, plant exploitation, future greenhouse, internationalization of plants, interactive, sensorial, #plants

3. Who can participate?

The call is addressed to all students and graduates of the Academy.

4. Budget

Each participating artist receives a fee of 200 euros. A production budget is available for the development of new works, the amount of which depends on the number of participating artists and can therefore only be announced after the works have been selected.

5. Application

Submission deadline: 17.3.2023, 11 h

The following documents must be submitted as PDF documents with a maximum size of 5 MB via the platform

  • written proposal (max. 1 A4 page) – if in German: an abstract in English (approx. ½ A4 page);
  • photos/sketches of the art works/project ideas;
  • information about estimated production costs, space requirements and needed media equipment;
  • CV (max. 1 A4 page).

The curators of the show will evaluate the submitted concepts and will inform about their selection until
end of April 2023.

For further information please contact Stephanie Damianitsch (


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