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Erin Johnson

There are things in this world that are yet to be named

September 12, 2020
–September 25, 2020

Erin Johnson, There are things in this world that are yet to be named, 2020. 8′8″.

There are things in this world that have yet to be named takes as its starting point Solanum plastisexum—an Australian bush tomato whose sexual expression appears to be unpredictable and unstable, challenging even the fluid norms of the plant kingdom. Because it doesn’t fit within a constant sexual binary, it evaded classification by botanists for decades. The video—filmed over 50 million acres of land burned in wildfires across Australia—combines footage of the team of botanists who recently named Solanum plastisexum in their lab in Pennsylvania, with shots of Australian plants cultivated in the United States at The Huntington in Los Angeles. The voice-over is an amalgamation of texts including interviews with botanist Tanisha Williams and love letters between Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman. Carson was forty-six and Freeman fifty-five when the two met in 1953 on an island in Maine. Though Freeman was married, they sustained a passionate, romantic correspondence throughout Carson’s writing of seminal environmental texts.

This video has been selected as part of a programmatic takeover by independent curator Daisy Desrosiers that will unfold for the remaining part of 2020.

Directed and Produced by: Erin Johnson
Directors of Photography: Erin Johnson and Kanthy Peng
Editors: Erin Johnson and Matt Nelson
Sound Design and Mix: Nikita Gale and Matt Nelson
Voice-over: Farah Al Qasimi
Featuring: Chris Martine, Cheyenne Moore, Ariel Antoine, Tanisha Williams from Bucknell University’s Solanum plastisexum lab

Past Shift Key Programmes

A still from Cecilia Vicuña "Paracas" (1983)
Cecilia Vicuña
Paracas
A Still from Cauleen Smith "Pilgrim" (2017)
Cauleen Smith
Pilgrim
Mona Hatoum
Roadworks
Aura Satz
Preemptive Listening (Part 1: The Fork in the Road)