The Book of Flowers
HD video, 8 min
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Georg Kargl, Vienna, Austria
Location: Garrison Command
The Book of Flowers is a short film that combines Artificial Intelligence-powered animation with the 16 mm film post production. The film is made in an experimental educational-like format, where static, animated sequences of time-lapse flowers are accompanied by music and the voice-over of a narrator.
In a poetic, meditative fashion, the film presents an alternative history to the human – plant ecology, where the floral species and humans for millennia existed in a close symbiosis. In the ecosystem of the past, as we are told by the narrator, humans were the main pollinators of over-scaled plants; the current reduced sizes of flowers are the result of long-term engineering and breeding. The hunger for plants that lead to the domination of one species by another was satiated, but is it possible to build an ecological equilibrium of the present on the horrors of the past?
Using elements of science-fiction, the work reflects on the notion of the ‘environment’ as both an organic and social construct. Due to the film’s format of a speculative documentary and its visual quality combining analog film with contemporary digital technologies, The Book of Flowers can be read also as a commentary on the processes of re-reading and re-designing history.
Agnieszka Polska is a visual artist and a film director who uses computer-generated media to reflect on the individual and their social responsibility in the context of environments driven by the flow of information. She renders the ethical and societal challenges of our time into immersive, meditative films and installations. Her works, often constructed from affective sound and visual stimuli, examine processes of influence and legitimation in the fields of language, consciousness and history.
Polska has presented her works in international venues, including the New Museum and the MoMA in New York, Centre Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Tate Modern in London, Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Her solo exhibitions were organised by Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Nottingham Contemporary, Saltzburger Kunstverein, among others. She also took part in the 57th Venice Biennale, 11th Gwangju Biennale, 19th Biennale of Sydney and 13th Istanbul Biennial. In 2018 she was awarded the German Preis der Nationalgalerie.