Plant Exchange
2007 - 2010

project and performance, Amsterdam The Netherlands 2007, Sinop Turkey 2008, Willemstad Curaçao 2010
dimensions: three greenhouses each 50 x 60 x 45 cm,
six pencil drawn maps, 42 x 29,7 cm

Plant Exchange is a project inspired on stories about plant hunting by plant collectors. In the Nineteenth century plant collectors, commissioned by botanical gardens or for example in their position as a missionary, travelled to areas that where still unknown to Europeans. Mariëlle Videler chose the opposite landscape: cities. With a plant in a greenhouse she wandered through the streets, a traveller who exchanges plants. She went from door to door, visiting different cultures in living rooms and tried to move as many plants as possible from one house to the other. Plant Exchange brings a 'stranger' in people's home. The greenhouse is inspired on a Wardian Case: a portable propagation container that was invented in 1829 to protect plants from the salty water during the transport on ships to Europe. The bars, which at each side pierce through the greenhouse, refer to a reliquary: a container that is used to transport a relic outside of a church. During the project Mariëlle Videler documents as less as possible, leaving almost no trace, to focus on the moment of the meeting. The moving of the plants is marked on a map by using colour codes. In 2007 the project was realized for the first time in the former trade city Amsterdam with 174 different nationalities. The next year the project was part of the Biennale in Sinop, a city situated on the most northern edge of the Turkish side of the Black Sea. In 2010 the project was continued in Willemstad Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean Sea that was part of the Dutch colony.