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Event: Our Bio-Tech Planet, examining the Future of Plants & Humans

Text by Juliette Wallace

This October, the historical Botanical Gardens in central Rome will host an event for our future. Our Bio-Tech Planet: The Future of Plants and Humans (OBTP), an international, cross-disciplinary, multimedia event, sprouts in Italy’s capital between October 24th and 30th, burgeoning, in turn, a series of cross-disciplinary art/science/technology workshops, talks, panel discussions and an art exhibition.

Organised by the Berlin-based art/science/tech organization Art & Science Node (ASN) in conjunction with the EU Chic Innovation Consortium (CHIC), this week-long happening brings together a broad international and multigenerational group of innovators to begin a new constructive dialogue between humans and plants.

The event explores our present with an eye to the future, posing the delicate questions that are proving increasingly necessary in today’s fraught world. Scientists and artists; humans and plants; the past and the future, biology and technology come together for a unique event to ask:

What’s next for the future of plants and humans?

We find ourselves at a crucial moment. Climate change, the degradation of natural resources and a growing human population put our global, societal and environmental systems – our future –  under serious threat. It is becoming critical that our current ecological curve be redressed, and a multi-disciplinary approach may well be the way…

Born from a five-year-long collaboration between ASN and their 16 partners in the EU Horizon-funded CHIC, OBTP turns to plants, to Biotech, to AI and more for inspiration and direction, inviting the audience to reflect upon the interdependence of plants and humans and our combined future through daily activities: panel discussions and workshops, live performances and an art exhibition, including Rhizosphere: The Big Network of Small Worlds (an ongoing project around the network of plants and root systems).

World-class chefs from the Italian Federation of Chefs (FIC), We´re Smart, and Worldchefs will be contributing with specially created, bespoke recipes alongside esteemed biotechnologists and academics and contemporary multimedia artists. Artworks that span from molecular orchestration to novel “Urplflanze”, sensual interactions to virtual intelligent networks and micro-landscapes to interstellar wonderings will cover ground-breaking innovations engaging with relevant, contemporary subjects, expanding imaginations and inspiring bold visions.

The application of new technology within genetic modification to close the agricultural wealth gap, the concept of beginning life on another planet, interspecies communication and intra-/extra-bodily communication through food are some of the subjects explored. Panel discussions and talks take these themes further, putting together OBTP´s esteemed guests for public debates on these hot subjects.

The Botanical Garden in Rome will see, for this one-off event, a new type of fertility: the seeds of new ideas and innovative propositions taking root and laying the groundwork for innovation, responsibly developing the boundless possibilities of technology so as to sustain Our Bio-Tech Planet and the Future of Plants and Humans.

Our Bio-Tech Planet: The Future of Plants and Humans runs from 24 to 30 October at the Botanical Gardens in Rome.

(Image courtesy of Art & Science Node)
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