Juan R. Duchesne-Winter

The most portentous aspect of this dazzling project by Steven F. White and Jill Pflugheber is their gesture of homage to sacred plants. With precise and rigorous prose, and sublime high-definition images, they sing the praises of these plants, thanking from their hearts the spiritual owners who care for them and the indigenous peoples who have conversed, from their cosmovision, with them and their numinous guardians for millennia. The eminent geobotanist Francis Hallé wrote In Praise of Plants and Plaidoyer pour l’arbre from a scientific perspective accompanied by a deep sense of admiration and gratitude rarely seen in his discipline. Here Pflugheber and White, in a generous gesture that reminds us of Hallé, offer technological, scientific, aesthetic, ethical and spiritual perspectives in a multimedia text of great theoretical, artistic and even activist value worthy of divulgation. They appeal to a cosmic language (if there is one), the language of the image and the symbol, whose autonomous life, intermediate between the material and the immaterial, communicates the worlds of the sensitive and the super-sensitive through what they call the “ultra-sensitive”, thanks to a cutting-edge technology that transforms new forms that were once literally invisible into visible beings. Once again, thanks to this project, we see that, as Alfred North Whitehead said, the form, the pattern, is what sustains the symbiosis between the human and the non-human, the material and the spiritual, an incessant symbiosis thanks to which we exist.

Juan R. Duchesne Winter, author of Plant Theory in Amazonian Literature (2019).

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