ooo is a digital platform for art and culture that emerged in 2022 from an initiative of cultural practitioners and artists. Through a changing pool of artists, writers and journalists from the field of art and beyond, ooo reflects and presents artworks, exhibitions and events through diverse approaches and forms of expression.

EXPERIMENTAL ECOLOGY - Kunst x Wissenschaft im Dialog, Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger 25. Aug – 29. Okt 2023


Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger: EXPERIMENTAL ECOLOGY - Art x Science in dialogue

25 Aug - 29 Oct 2023

Zheng Bo is one of those artists who seem to be everywhere overnight thanks to work that perfectly captures the zeitgeist. His "Pteridophilia" series shows young men erotically encountering plants in forests. In other words, they fuck the bushes. Or as Zheng Bo says: "The work connects spores and sperms. And this spectacle between porn, slapstick and post-humanist discourse was everywhere in 2022. From the Venice Biennale to the Migros Museum.

For the "Experimental Ecology" exhibition, Martina Huber and Gianni Jetzer brought together various artists and scientists. Zheng Bo developed a project for the exhibition at the KBHG together with soil ecologist Matthias Rillig. I was undoubtedly very excited to see how much eroticism the Taiwanese artist would bring to the exhibition space, which is still shrouded in a certain bourgeois aura. The exhibition is divided into several small islands in which the results of the artistic-scientific co-operation are presented. Like in a natural history museum or a noble life science fair. Zheng Bo and Matthias Rillig are right at the entrance to the large room. A high-quality and obviously sinfully expensive LED screen shows Bo and Rillig walking through a forest and talking about the nature-human relationship. In between, there are greyish close-ups of plants. So far so bland.

Thanks to the support of the city nursery, however, you are standing in a small artificial forest clearing to view this LED wall. There are small trees suffering somewhat from the climatic conditions and there is a mixture of leaves on the ground. Two lying tree trunks provide seating. It could almost be a little intimate, as you can have a little privacy behind pieces of cardboard wall and small trees. And then these lying trunks... In Berlin cruising areas such as those at the Teufelsee or in the Hasenheide, gay men like to sit on such trunks, waiting for someone to come by for a quickie in the bushes. Despite the triumph of Bos Pteridophilia, they would rather fuck other people in the forest than stick their sex into the cracks in the fern leaves. And so, in this small artificial clearing of the Basel Private Foundation, I wonder whether Zheng Bo isn't trying to give us a hint with the lying tree trunks. Perhaps all eroticism is not yet lost despite the whispering forest conversation. Would Zheng Bo like me to fuck the little trees of the Basel city nursery here in the KBHG?

Q.U.I.C.H.E. are semi-monthly thoughts about cultural moments in Basel and the surrounding area. Formulated by a loosely organised collective of queer people who dance in the haze of Basel's cultural scene.