The collection of microscopic images, or, more precisely, digital visualizations, shared by Steven F. White and Jill Pflugheber in Microcosms is an initiation into the opportunities offered by the confocal microscope for the conservation of biocultural heritage. My students celebrate that these visualizations give us another way for the sacred plants to engrave themselves in our imagination and memory through the contemplation of their microcosms at scales invisible to the eye. They are visions, luminous and full of fascinating patterns, which are not alien to the visions that the ingestion of sacred plants also shares with us. And, with his introductory essay, Steven F. White allows these visualizations to provide us with a history of these species and their communications with their environments. The microscopic electronic visualization is an exercise in mediation through which my students and I perceive the agency of the sacred plant as that of an artist making a self-portrait of the multiplied cosmos that constitutes it at other scales.
Jorge Marcone, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, and Comparative Literature, Rutgers University. He is also co-chair of the Advisory Board of the SARAS Institute (Uruguay) and collaborator with the Microbiota Vault Conservation Project.