On Plant Intelligence


26 – 27 April 2023

Keynote: Michael Marder
With Christine Arncken and Mariateresa Lazzaro, Ursula Damm, Marcos Filardi, Taita Hernando Chindoy, Birgit Schneider, Katja Tielbörger, Alexandra Toland, and Heraldo Vallejo

26 April 2023 Auditorium D 1.02, and Studio Cinema D 0.01, Tower Building, HGK Basel FHNW
27 April 2023 seminar room, HEK House of Electronic Arts, Basel

Organized by the team of the SNSF research project Plants_Intelligence. Learning like a Plan: Yvonne Volkart (project lead), Felipe Castelblanco, Julia Mensch, and Rasa Smite

Institute Art Gender Nature HGK Basel FHNW

​​​​Current research proves what ancient practices already knew: ​plants are more complex beings than previously assumed. They are wide open to the world, sense it, respond to it, change it, communicate, and cooperate with many actors; they make decisions, solve problems, play with others​. ​​I​n short, they have agency ​and display ​forms of intelligence that are neither only human, nor machine based, but ancient and not always well-known. What does this mean for botanists, organic breeders, (indigenous) farmers, philosophers, media theorists, and artists? How can the different disciplines learn from each other? And what can we gain, in terms of eco aesthetic and (agro)political goals?

With this first interdisciplinary partner workshop, we bring together local and international practitioners and researchers exploring the many ways plants are and act in the world. The goal of this gathering is to present the overall project to the partners and the public, to work on the definitions of and alternatives to the debatable term “plant intelligence,” and to elaborate ways of cooperation and participation.

Public Program

26 April 2023
Auditorium D 1.02, Tower Building, HGK Basel FHNW

4 pm Welcome and introduction

Partner Presentations I
Working with the Intelligence of Plants in Breeding and Farming
4.20 pm Christine Arncken and Mariateresa Lazzaro
4.40 pm Heraldo Vallejo (online)
5 pm Coffee break
5.20 pm Hernando Chindoy and Media Collective Nambi Rimai (online)
5.40 pm Marcos Filardi (online)
6 pm Break and Snacks

26 April 2023, 6.30 pm
Michael Marder
The Senses of Extended Cognition in Plants: An Exploration
Studio Cinema D 0.01, Tower Building, HGK Basel FHNW

27 April 2023
Seminar room, HEK House of Electronic Arts, Basel

9 am Welcome and wrap-up

Partner Presentations II
Tracking Plant Intelligence in Art and Science
9.20 am Birgit Schneider
9.40 am Ursula Damm
10 am Break
10.10 am Katja Tielbörger
10.30 am Alexandra Toland
10.50 am Coffee break
11.10 am Team Plant Intelligence and Discussion
1 pm End

Prof. Dr. Michael Marder, Author and Research Professor, Department of Philosophy, The University of the Basque Country

Dr. Christine Arncken and Dr. Mariateresa Lazzaro, Plant Breeding Department of Crop Sciences, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL

Prof. Ursula Damm, Head of the Media Environments chair, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and artist

Marcos Filardi, ​Human Rights and Food Sovereignty Lawyer, ​Director Museo del Hambre, Buenos Aires (online)

Taita Hernando Chindoy, Inga Leader and representative from Wuasikamas Colombia (online)

Prof. Dr. Birgit Schneider, Professorship for Knowledge Cultures and Media Environments, Department of European Media Studies, University of Potsdam

Prof. Dr. Katja Tielbörger, Head of Plant Ecology / Director Botanical Garden, University Tübingen

Prof. Dr. Alexandra Toland, Professor of Arts and Research, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and artist

Heraldo Vallejo, Agroecologist and representative of Tierra de Selva Foundation, Colombia (online)

→ More information on the SNSF research project Plants_Intelligence. Learning like a Plant


Field Research for the SNSF research project Plants_Intelligence. Learning like a Plant, Yuyo Colorado, amaranth, herbicide-resistant weed in GM soy plantation, Bolívar, Buenos Aires Province, 2023, photo by Julia Mensch