Sciaponics is a composite technology for grasping or initiating disturbing and graceful relationships between plant, human, machine, and symbolic selves.
To feed these relationships, sciaponics constructs its own cocoon between art and horticulture: a cocoon for dreamy plant-growing and grounded art.
Sciaponics is organized as a framework, a basket of found or experienced stories, metaphors, and practical solutions. These elements combine into components that become seeds for new pseudo-lives, personal or shared.
The name sciaponics comes from the Greek scia (“shadow”) and poneo (“work”), in resemblance to terms such as geoponics or hydroponics, and indicates the blend of two apparently dissimilar things: a fluttering suspension of the ordinary way of being and an engineering immersion in material pursuits.
The practical and artistic tasks of sciaponics are outlined in the text “Framework for Foamed Nothingness: Encountering Sciaponics”.
The content of sciaponics can be revealed through the description of
its main modules:
During 2019-2022, sciaponics explored itself in attempts to grow wild plants of a temperate climate in an improvised artificial environment. An eccentric idea led to surprising failures, achievements, and a heap of accompanying experiences and reflections. All listed became one of the essential sciaponics narratives and the story of the book “Sciaponics, the work of shadows”.
Based on this experience, Sciaponics offers technical and conceptual assistance for growing unexpected plants in unsuitable situations.
Cultivation of wild plants gradually led to the emergence of a dedicated shady place — the studio “Flower str. 6”. It worked in a quasi-public mode and could be visited by arrangement. The guests were greeted by tea in peculiar porcelain, the murmur of power drivers for light installations, the rustle of mice, the honey aroma of flowering herbs, quiet conversations about earthworms, the Baltic coasts, ideas old and new, predatory and herbivorous mites. Something between garden meditation, encountering sciaponics, and an awkward first date. During these visits, sciaponic affects and dialogues were born and brought up; seeds, cuttings, and handfuls of compost were allocated.
Such intimate communication is vital for the metabolism of sciaponics: it unites human sensitivity, the generosity of plants, and the play of symbols in a mutually nutritious environment. Over the past two years, Flower str 6 has welcomed more than a hundred guests.
Shady, quivering phytocenoses can be found everywhere, from carefully managed urban spaces to the gaps between industrial zones. Group sciaponics walks are devoted to getting to know these plant communities, developing the organs of awareness of them, and interacting with them. We have already visited high-tech city gardens, reclaimed lands, abandoned parks, weed wastelands, and forest clearings.
Sciaponics strongly gravitates towards the genre of “gardeners’ talk at the end of a long hot day”; it is full of stories about the life of specific plants and thriving and tragic growing cases. These stories are complemented by spontaneous, localized theories and poetic interpretations. Although the latter do not pretend to be a coherent system, sciaponics is easily transformed into educational projects of various formats: from individual talks and a traditional lecture course to a deeply engaged experimental group (all these are real examples).
The format of sciaponics — a framework — implies a readiness and even a need for its components (plant-growing, theoretical, artistic) to be pulled apart and introduced into new contexts.
This book is evidence and the result of assembling the sciaponic framework. Its genre wanders from a garden log to a set of koans, from an involved review of amateur horticulture to speculative theorizing. The writing is designed to be virulent: it doesn’t just talk about sciaponics but offers everything you need to start your own practice — like manuals for growing cacti or breeding tree frogs.
You can get acquainted with one of the chapters