Sarah Davidson


Going On Without Us
Sarah Davidson, Daniel Griffin Hunt, Emily Moriarty
Bovey Teaching Greenhouse, Guelph
March 5, 2018

“The onion loves the onion.
It hugs its many layers,
saying, O, O, O,
each vowel smaller
than the last.”
(Lorna Crozier, from The Sex Lives of Vegetables)

Do plants care about art? How closely are they watching us? Are we too late to start listening? Using the Bovey Teaching Greenhouse as a gallery space, three artists interpret the idea of plants as sensitive beings. The title of the exhibition alludes to the agency playfully accorded vegetables in Lorna Crozier’s poetry collection The Garden Going On Without Us. Where Crozier imagines that onions have sex lives, the artists of Going On Without Us toy variously with visions of a posthuman world: as a speculative fiction, philosophical argument, and allegory of the present.

The location of the exhibition suggests possibilities for cross-disciplinary conversation between art and other forms of research, and reflects the various investigations of the individual artists. By situating this project in a working greenhouse, they have foregrounded the vegetable kingdom to speak to ideas of intersectionality, synchronicity, and site-specificity central to each of their practices.

The E.C. Bovey Building is located on the southwest corner of the main Guelph campus. Built in 1991, the complex houses both faculty as well as research facilities. In addition, the Bovey complex includes an expansive network of greenhouses and growth room facilities, found west of the main lab/administrative buildings. The tropical greenhouse houses a collection of plants, including tropicals, cacti and orchids.