Holding the Herbarium is a poetic-visual text developed from research in the Botany Collections at The Natural History Museum in London. It forms part of The Institute of Speculative Subjectivities an ongoing investigation into the perceived ‘silence’ or gap in forms of language and representation that occur within human-non-human relations. The development of the text involved working with different species of Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and expanded forms of listening, looking and creative writing. The work blends poetic, performative and fictional registers with botanical, scientific and natural historical research to reimagine language, taxonomies and forms of representation in relation to issues of environmental change.  

Excerpts from the poem are below, the full text will be published in MAI Journal in early 2019.  A reading of the work took place as part of Urgent Matters III: Soil, Poetry and Care, an event at Bethnal Green Nature Reserve with speakers Maria Puig de la Bellacasa and Dimitris Papadopoulos.


Photos: Helena Hunter from the collections of the Natural History Museum, London.