39 (Breeding)

The Order of Potatoes
On Purity and Variation in Plant Breeding
by
Åsa Sonjasdotter
Pages 311-329 | Published online: 25 Sep 2018
Published in the journal Third Text Volume 32, 2018
Issue 2-3: The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions

An article in the journal Third Text, which addresses questions of memory, matter, temporality and narrative as they emerge in stable plant variation throughout processes of cultivation and breeding. In the article, I present two different but entangled narratives on potatoes and breeding. Both stories begin at the time of early colonialism and capitalism at the end of the sixteenth century. I present the narratives alongside each other as a way to make visible how they not only represent different perspectives on the same historical spacetime, but also how they involve different narrative formats.




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Peace With Earth
Ireland, 2016 - 2020
Hosted by Project Arts Centre, Dublin

In a multi-year explorative project, visual artist and plant-breeder Åsa Sonjasdotter connects to various practitioners of cultivation and knowing. During the summer of 2018, she has been visiting experimental archaeologists and seed-savers, artists, farmers and foresters, storytellers, historians and curators on Ireland. Based on these meetings, a series of gatherings will generate a process of figuration on co-nurturing cultivating practices.
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A Muddy Place for Art
Gotland, Sweden, 2015 - 2019
Hosted by the Baltic Art Centre,
Gotlands Museum and Konstfrämjandet


A tracing of human relationships to cultivated plants in archives, heritage landscapes and in literature. Cultivated plants’ rich variation in form and taste has emerged through, what might be called, a “breeding dialogue”, between humans and plants. When Carl von Linné systematized the nature (Systema Naturae, 1735), cultivated plants were not mentioned, as they were not regarded as belonging to God’s divine order. Considering human’s close relation to cultivated plants, their aesthetic capacity is surprisingly overlooked within both art and science.
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