Of Animacy Reading Group: Plants

Image Credit: Sam Smith, Nearness (2019)

Stourhead House, Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 6QD

[email protected]

Wednesday 25 September 2019
Opening Hours: 9am -6pm
Booking recommended
Contact Nella: [email protected]

Of Animacy Reading Group, led by curator Nella Aarne, gathers at Stourhead over the summer months in conjunction with artist Sam Smith’s exhibition Nearness. The reading group is always open to all and does not require prior knowledge of the subjects discussed.

Resonating with Smith’s new video project, produced in direct response to the ecosystems of Stourhead, Of Animacy presents a selection of texts that encourage us to think through, and think with, the boundless array of beings that sustain life on earth. The four gatherings, each dedicated to the collective reading of a specific text, focus on material components that contribute to ecological processes: water, minerals, plants and animals.

In September, Of Animacy convenes for the last time time to discuss anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s proposition to consider sociality as a fundamental quality of all living beings, human and non-human. Introducing us to the social life of plants and mushrooms, she takes us to the Satoyama forest — Japanese peasant woodland where planned and unplanned human disturbances weave into the multi-species social world of the forest.


Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, ‘More-than-Human Sociality: A Call for Critical Description’, Anthropology and Nature, ed. Kirsten Hastrup (Routledge, 2014), pp. 27-42

Excerpts of the text will be read together during the session to support open discussion

For access to and further information on the readings, please email [email protected]


Of Animacy fosters learning through open discussion in a democratic space, with an aim to recognise vital alliances for our daily life and political thought.

Reading the selected text in advance is recommended but not necessary. Printed copies will be available at the gathering and excerpts of the text will be read together to support open discussion.

For access to and further information on the monthly readings, please email [email protected]

Of Animacy Reading Group was first convened by curator Nella Aarne at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 2017. The gatherings focus on feminist writings on human and non-human agents in the material world, spanning philosophy and natural and human sciences.

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Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

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