Roots & Wires. Group exhibition 

On the 27th June 2024 a group exhibition ‘Roots & Wires’ will be opened ar Atletika gallery, featuring works by artists Merle Bergers, Maria Castellanos, Mindaugas Gapševičius, Lerin/Hystad, Špela Petrič, curated by Katažyna Jankovska.

A cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms

(Richard Brautigan, “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”, 1967)

Due to our limited sensory perception, we were never able to connect with plants. We can’t perceive their movements and behaviors, which happen on a different timescale, nor can we detect their chemical and electrical signaling. But technology can. That is why we rely on technological devices, operating as our sensory prostheses, to mediate between the human and plant, and reveal their true nature.

Since the 1970s, artists have been connecting plants with technological systems, creating new hybrid forms of intelligence. Plants were recognized as “analog electrical computers” capable of transferring information over long distances and acting as natural sensors that detect changes in the environment. This has inspired new computer, robot, and network designs, moving beyond electronic systems and silicon chips to hybrid plant-machines. Now that we design artificial intelligence largely aimed at replicating human-level intelligence, could we use plants’ methods of collective decision-making, information processing, and resource distribution (such as the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plants), to feed data-hungry machine-learning algorithms? As James Bridle asks, what would an AI modeled after a forest look like?

From AI systems analyzing plant behavior to bio-hybrid installations revealing their sensory abilities, the Roots x Wires exhibition presents experimental artistic works that playfully explore alternative relationships with plants. Rather than seeking to exploit technology for productivity, these works bridge the gap between the human and plant worlds, revealing a hidden dimension. What if we could decode the hidden messages in plant-fungi conversations? What happens when plants communicate at a distance connected by the Internet? What if we build machines sole purpose of which is to play with plants?

Artists – Merle Bergers, Maria Castellanos, Mindaugas Gapševičius, Lerin/Hystad, Špela Petrič

Curator – Katažyna Jankovska
Design – Ringailė Demšytė

Technical manager – Merkys Žebrauskas

Opening and tour with the curator – 27/06/2024, 7 pm.
Exhibition dates & times: 28/06/2024 – 08/08/2024, Wednesdays to Fridays 4 – 8 pm.
Closing event with artists – 08/08/2024

Address: Atletika gallery, Vitebsko 21, Vilnius. Free entry to all events and exhibition, no registration needed.

Organised by the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association (LIAA). LIAA activities are supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Vilnius City Municipality.
The exhibition is partly sponsored by the Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), Swedish Arts Grants Committee.