#11 Valency : Participants : Olga F. Koroleva
'Hidden' is a research and moving image project on the relationship between hidden disability and the companion-working plant. It marks a new trajectory in my practice that explores vegetal narratives concurrent in humans and plants, tracing colonial patterns of medicinal plant travel in the longer term.
It began as 'Tears on my Leaves' (above - 2020, 1min 42secs, single screen HD video, sound) - a tiny video portrait of the medicinal plant Callisia Fragrans endemic to Mexico. Her leaves contain flavonoids and phytosterols resulting in antibacterial and anaesthetic properties. I grow the plant at home and make a tincture from her leaves to help ease muscle and nerve pain caused by fibromyalgia.
While Callisia's 'tears' are a result of guttation whereby droplets of sap form along the edges of leaves of some vascular plants, this first person narrative from the point of view of the plant suggest symbiotic human-plant entanglements.
Music by Samuel Holloway.
Second camera (microscopic footage) by Sonia Levy
Olga F. Koroleva (she / her; white-passing neurodivergent planthuman living and working with hidden disabilities) is a UK-based artist – curator – un-academic researcher – forager – lecturer.
Her work honours slow practice and self-care while exploring ways of non- exploitative cohabitation with multiple others on this planet. She works primarily with expanded research cinema, and is the founder of the international peer group The Political Animal.
She has taught at The Royal College of Art, London, The School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University, Wimbledon College of Arts, Chelsea College of Art and Design, and Bucknell University, PA, US. Her recent work has been made possible with funding from the Arts Council England.
Her moving image work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at UCL Museum of Art, and V&A Museum, and The Showroom, London. Her original written work has been commissioned for Ocean Archive, TBA21-Academy and CSPA Quarterly. She was a Film Practice Fellow at the Centre for Film and Ethics, Queen Mary University of London (2019 - 2022), and Research Affiliate at FEELed Lab, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Canada (2023). She is currently the Treasurer at MUGS (Medway Urban Green Spaces) Forum and currently taking a self-lead PhD by plant practice unaffiliated with any institution.