Searching for the "national plant"

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2022, 2-channel video installation on monitors 22min 52sec, mixed media, Dimensions variable

Video & sound editing: Danae Stylianou

Searching for the “national plant” is a project contemplating the entanglements between people, plants, language and territories from a personal, historical and geopolitical perspective. By investigating the overlappings of ecological and nationalist concepts, the work aims to problematise the notion of the “native” and reflect its role in the construction of national identities and nationalist ideologies.

The two-channel video-essay follows the traces of “Ladjia”, an endemic oak of Cyprus, which was officially designated as the country’s national tree. Multiple knowledges and observations relating to this tree are displayed and woven together with different historical sources into a hybrid narrative composed of interviews, scientific texts and personal impressions from the forest where this tree exclusively grows.

Different temporalities and rhythms of storytelling are juxtaposed in the installation: the rapid succession of events, names, dates, places and images on the first monitor is counterpointed by a calm, almost motionless scene of a forest of Ladjias.