Paco Calvo

Enacting the bridge between Plant Science and the Arts takes some courage. For one thing, not everyone appreciates the value of transdisciplinarity. Even worse, to most it’s a single-track road: Artists, best-case scenario, benefit or find inspiration in botanical works. Seldom the opposite direction is travelled. And yet Science, writ large, can be particularly stimulated by artistic talent. Real science doesn’t reduce to the (cartoon) ABC of the scientific method so often parroted from the pulpits of orthodox Academia. And plant science is not unlike other fields of research. It can only flourish with imagination. Microcosms, by positioning itself at the crossroads of botany, technology and art, furnishes us with a special toolkit to our shared objective: understanding our place within Nature, not as contemplative masters but rather as fellow travellers. Microcosms offers the possibility to create spaces at the intersection of disparate backgrounds wherein to educate our eye, magnifying not just the minutiae of dwellers in the tree of life, but the very pitfalls of looking at ourselves as special in some sense. Humans are not that special. Or rather, if we are, it is only insofar as we are able to grasp, once and for all, that all life is special. The microcosmic appreciation of plant life paves the way for the macrocosmic understanding of plant agency and meaning-making.

Paco Calvo, Director of Minimal Intelligence Lab (MINT), Universidad de Murcia (Murcia, Spain), author of Planta Sapiens: Unmasking Plant Intelligence (Little, Brown & Co., 2022) (UK edition) and Planta Sapiens: The New Science of Plant Intelligence (Norton, 2023) (USA edition).

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