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#22 – Ernesto Neto & Michael Marder

The podcast series Creators facing the Climate Emergency provides a platform of conversations between artists, thinkers and scientists to create new narratives, to raise awareness and to incite action in the face of the climate change with artists as mediators.

The conversation between Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto and Canadian philosopher Michael Marder will analyse the concepts of plant intelligence and vegetal soul, explore the temporality and connectivity of plants and envision the ontological and ethical stance arising therefrom.

How can plant intelligence and the vegetal soul inform artistic practice?
And which ontological and ethical teachings can be derived from the temporality and connectivity of plants?


Theme: Vegetal Soul
Guests: Ernesto Neto, visual artist, and Michael Marder, philosopher.
Conversation in English co-moderated by Claudia Paetzold and Stefano Vendramin.

Michael Marder is a Canadian philosopher and research professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU) in Spain. His writings span the fields of ecological theory, phenomenology, and political thought. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and monographs, including Plant-Thinking (2013); Phenomena—Critique—Logos (2014); The Philosopher’s Plant (2014); Dust (2016), Energy Dreams (2017), Heidegger (2018), Political Categories (2019), Pyropolitics (2015, 2020); Dump Philosophy (2020); Hegel’s Energy (2021); Green Mass (2021) and Philosophy for Passengers (2022), among others. For more information, consult his website

Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s installations immerse the viewer in colours, fragrances and sounds, redefining the boundaries between the artwork and the audience and simultaneously serving as models for redefining social environments. The unconventional choice of materials, the simultaneity of internal and external structures, the contrast between the organic and the mechanical, and the qualities of sensuality and tactility, are all deeply inherent to the artist’s practice. Neto’s installations draw on the lessons of minimalist sculpture, New Brazilian Objectivity of the 1960s and 70s, and anthropomorphic architecture. Neto’s work has been the subject of seminal museum exhibitions worldwide, including SunForceOceanLife at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2021), Mentre la vita ci respira at GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2021) and Gaia Mother Tree by Fondation Beyeler in the Zurich Train Station (2018). He was featured in the 57th Venice Biennial Viva Arte Viva curated by Christine Macel and in the 14th Lyon Biennial Floating Worlds curated by Emma Lavigne (both in 2017). Represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Galerie Max Hetzler, galería Elba Benitez, Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel and Goodman Gallery.

Claudia Paetzold
is a London and Paris based advisor and curator. She has provided consultancy services to a myriad of art organisations including Art Basel. Her curatorial practice focuses on evolutionary proposals integrating art, ancestral knowledge, applied sustainability and new technologies, culminating in new ways of creating and experiencing art.

Stefano Vendramin
is coordinator of the Fondation Thalie programme Creators facing the Climate Emergency, as well as an independent curator specialised in art that engages with the environment.