Nicola Rae: Chlorophilia Frequencies, 2020
CHLOROPHILIA, APT Gallery, 6 Creekside, Deptford, London SE8 4SA. 3rd - 6th Dec 2020.
Co-curators: Paul Malone and Nicola Rae


The substantiation of sunlight into responsive frondescence through photosynthesis is explored in this installation made for Chlorophilia. Recent video footage of the green filtered X-Ray solar flare region of the Sun at 6,000,000 Kelvin is projected onto a reclaimed aluminium porthole. This near-live footage was recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly during a coincidentally active time for solar flares that included an M4.4 solar eruption on 30th Nov 2020. SDO aims to understand solar variability and its impacts on Earth.

Pickups have been attached to the stems of Buddleia plants and when interacted with the branches sound, referencing John Cage's 'Child of Tree'. These plants become interactive instruments that are improvised on sonically through the careful plucking of their branches by participants. The visualisations of these amplified plant frequencies are projected onto a second porthole. Plants respond to human contact, sound waves and magnetic fields.











Curatorial Statement by Paul Malone and Nicola Rae

Every day we inhabit the vegetational world. It forms a living interface essential to our existence as biological organisms. In its physical form it represents the substantiation of sunlight through photosynthesis into frondescence, verdure and greenery. Locked within the chemical matrix of every plant are the molecules that give us the perception of 'green'. The chemical formula for this is C55H72MgN4O5, or chlorophyll, and it engages in complex reactions to convert the Sun's energy into living organisms.

Paradoxically, magenta light also occupies a function in this process and is an essential component in the health of plants. To artists, such a contradiction elicits curiosity and a pathway to phenomenological exploration. International artists working in various media will be invited to respond to the theme of light and the vegetational. Each will bring their own interpretation of what the chlorophilic world means to them.

For Aristotle, philia excluded a love of inanimate objects. We propose that a love of foliage, and a fascination with the process of its becoming through sunlight, is a basis for artistic investigation in many different media as chlorophilia.

In many ways this project parallels the transformations that are occurring in the plant world. Who can say where a seed will take root or where a tree will fall in a forest. The history of the vegetational on Earth is redolent with false starts and incredible advances, responses to niche environments and global genetic re-interpretations.

Will we ever understand this complexity? It is a field that will literally never stand still long enough for assumptions to become complacent. As the world enters a new epoch of global greening, we are proposing a new revolution in our understanding of Chlorophilia.

See Chlorophilia website for more details:

Artists in Chlorophilia: Jheni Arboine, David Bloor, Alexandra Dementieva, Roei Greenberg, Nicky Hamlyn, Liz Harrison, Olga Koroleva, Richard Lawrence, Paul Malone, Chris Marshall, Alistair McClymont, Marcia Michael, Hanna Rut Neidhardt + Joachim Raab, Marlena Novak + Jay Alan Yim, Nicola Rae, Steven Scott, Alma Tischlerwood, Demelza Woodbridge.