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How do humans imagine the lives they share with plants? Are plants vegetal others, or do they confront the same kinds of issues that humans do: placement and displacement, illness and recovery, communication and social networking?

How and in what ways do interactive technological tools and social media platforms enable humans to reimagine or reframe the lives they share with plants? Entwined: Plants and People, Narratives and Networks explores these kinds of questions by examining how the stories we tell about plants focus our attention on the intertwined nature of human-plant relationships. The project explores fundamental questions about the nature of relationships between humans and other occupants of the planet and argues that new narrative modes must be developed in order to respond ethically to the challenges of the 21st century. Our project is also a call to place plants back where they belong: at the center of the public’s understanding of the contours of the world around us and of the entwined natures of our pasts, our presents, and our futures.

Specifically, with the question “What is your plant story?” the Herbaria 3.0 website invites ordinary people, as storytellers and readers, to journey into a “story garden” of human-plant encounters. We aim for our digital platform to act as a kind of meeting space both for the sharing of affective, material, and cultural responses to plants and as a driver of additional plant-human encounters in the offline “real” world.

Research Leader: Lauren LaFauci