#2 - Conscious or Sub-conscious relationship between plants and people?

This thought resulted from starting to read the book Plants for people by Anna Lewington. This book made me realize that we have a conscious and a sub-conscious relationship with plants:Conscious:

  • through occupation
  • as consumers - eating and drinking (before we are drunk), building
  • living approach
  • through tramping/walking through natural places because of conscious choice
  • cultural influences


  • as consumers - food and products
  • memories - childhood, holidays, places we have lived in
  • activities - sport, musicians
  • cultural influences

Exploring these 2 types of relationships through a variety of media, but also further exploring what makes us conscious or sub-conscious in this relationship and how would I represent that is another question I ask myself. Sub conscious link to plants exploration: Photographing impersonal, faceless buildings/businesses on a grey morning with little to no people movement or if there was any the people were oblivious they were walking/driving past places where they could get plant related products. [caption id="attachment_25" align="alignnone" width="300"]a semi conscious in front of a disassociated plant-person link a semi conscious in front of a disassociated plant-person link[/caption] The buildings I photographed are everyday buildings we have in our urban environment in NZ. They are places many of us frequent to ‘gather’ plant materials for food shelter, medicine or liquid. Am sure these places are seen as ‘shops’ not ‘gathering or harvesting’ places. The goods we walk out with are seen as less plant like and more a commodity, with no real understanding how it got here. While photographing these places I started to also observe the ‘planting’ around these places. As a landscape designer I understand the reasons behind these planting - they were done to help beautify the surroundings and create a more pleasing environment for the people who use these spaces. The intentions are good, but they are often not achieved because:

  • users of the space really do not care about the plantings, this can be seen in the ‘goat’ tracks that are often created through these plantings
  • vandalism of the planting
  • those who maintain these spaces are often on a time limit, so a minimum level of care is given
  • plantings present seem often out of context, an afterthought.

These thoughts made me really question the level of any conscious awareness of plants in our environment and the relationship between plants and people in these urban environment. Within these plantings there are also level’s of conscious and spreading/unwanted plantings.

Posted by Elle Anderson

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