Roberto Forns-Broggi

It’s not exactly easy to turn to the tendency to consider Nature as art because it’s still overwhelming to measure everything by the yardstick of human realities accustomed to norms and familiar meanings. But what can give us this thirst for life, for flowering, for the time of what’s distinctive that nourishes a project like Microcosms? The convergence between art and science to see what we cannot see with the naked eye and to discover the grandness of design in the tiny forms of plant-beings. Steven White’s introduction on plant-art, visionary experience and eco-activism is a timely invitation if we think about the kind of era that surrounds us with distractions and addictions that distance us from what’s most important, sources of true wellbeing. And it deserves genuine admiration, this call to be like plants from deep within our molecules that maintain a continuous and precise attention to the changing environment of the day. Perhaps it makes us think that we have become plants, to think with the plants with which we are made (or should be) in a productive and communicative relationship. At least that is what this visual and cultural catalog of sacred plants tries to provoke; a repertoire of natural forms that are placed in the tiny extreme corresponding to them and echoing each other; an inventory that emulates the attachment of native peoples to plants as a forgotten path that we should recover and cultivate to share and grow the many ways in which our lives are constituted vegetatively. These sacred plants, these organic, microscopic and generous worlds invite us to become vegetal, which means to think like the plants that we are, as we move towards a love for life in this biopolitical era. To slow down the collective addiction to velocity and to the clumsy and poor selection among possibilities of being. What these microscales offer us is an opportunity to rethink the use of the senses and the familiar categories of beauty and humanity, replacing bad habits of inattention with new vigilance. From the images that science gives us we draw colors, rhythms, symmetries, resonances in which the proximity of the microcosm becomes strange and joyful. An initial invitation for those who see what the eye cannot see, to continue looking for effects of empathy, of harmony, of renewed and truly sustainable value, of admiration for the natural sources in a new light.

Roberto Forns-Broggi, Professor of Spanish at MSU Denver. Writer who explores in his work the potential of environmental writing and filmmaking in Latin America.

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