picture: Astrid S. Klein, 2013

The Power of Tropical Plants

Shared Space #Glastrakt
Friday, November 4, 2022, 7–10 p.m.
and Saturday, November 5, 2022, whole day

Think tank with transdisciplinary input, performative interventions, and films — With contributions by Chanelle Adams, Minia Biabiany, Patrick Saidi Hemedi, Astrid S. Klein, Florence Lazar, Tania Eulalia Martinez-Cruz, Yara Richter, Huguette Tolinga, and other guests.

An event by the artist Astrid S. Klein and the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Participation is free of charge.
If attending on Saturday, please register at:

The event will be held in English. Further information, along with the detailed program, will be released in October on the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart website.

The two-day event The Power of Tropical Plants places tropical plants at the center of collaborative reflection, with a focus on their role as powerful protagonists embodying varifold meanings and modes of action.
Without tropical forests we would not be able to breathe, and without tropical plants we wouldn’t have enough food or energy. Also, so many healing pharmaceutical substances would be lacking. Tropical vegetation creates landscapes in which we can interconnect with other living existences. The alliances among plants—spanning generations and species—moreover activate human societies, various knowledge systems, and cosmologies.
The act of systematically collecting, researching, and preserving tropical plants in botanical gardens, herbaria, and seed and gene banks was shaped by European colonialism and its plantation economy. Western sciences and economic interests united to monumentally exploit tropical plants as resources through single-crop farming. To this end, a system of expropriation, enslavement, and forced labor based on racist structures was established.
The term Plantationocene (Anna L. Tsing and Donna Haraway) describes a concept in our day and age that goes back to industrial plantations during colonialism, calling to mind the violence and continuity associated with it. Among the hallmarks of the Plantationocene are predatory exploitation, capitalization, and the depletion of all living things. This is making soil, air, and water uninhabitable. All remaining resources are distributed based on the right of the strongest.
The event The Power of Tropical Plants counters the violence of the Plantationocene and its contemporary manifestations by proposing alternative narratives. Marginalized and collective practices gain a voice, facilitating environmentally friendly and equitable ways of life and economies. Also up for discussion are questions related to the displacement and diaspora of tropical plants and their colonial (hi)stories—questions of appropriation, responsibility, and restitution. The horizon of mutual reflection espouses a multifaceted production of knowledge.

Event concept and direction: Astrid S. Klein
With the friendly support of the Cultural Office of the City of Stuttgart

Schlossplatz 2
D-70173 Stuttgart
Fon: +49 (0)711 - 22 33 70
Fax: +49 (0)711-22 33 791
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart