MOCA's Summer Exhibitions are now open!

Vvzela Kook

Columbus of Horticulture

August 15, 2020
–August 31, 2020

Vvzela Kook, Columbus of Horticulture, 2019, Animation, 5′15″.

This work stems from Vvzela Kook’s on-going research about the role of botany in the history of imperialism. Botanical science became an important part of empire-building for European countries during the 16th–19th centuries, as maritime exploration often profited from the discovery of valuable exotic plants. Focusing on the British colonial “plant hunter,” who searched the empire’s colonies for precious plants and seeds to cultivate elsewhere for economic power, this animation simulates the frenzied excitement of discovery, as well as the colonial desire to scour new botanical resources.

Recommended Age: Grade 7 and up

  • What do you think of the animation style? How might the surreal colours and shapes influence how you feel about the work?
  • What do you notice about the plants depicted in the animation? Do any of them look familiar or remind you of anything?
  • The human-like figures that invade the island appear metallic and robot-like.
    • What do you think is the significance of their depiction?
    • What are they doing?
  • Toward the end of the work, a brown, liquid-like stream flows across the screen, carrying away some of the human creatures along with their harvested plants.
    • What do you think this represents?
  • If you could ask the artist a question about the piece, what would you like to know?

Create a surreal scene with this drawing activity inspired by Vvzela Kook’s intensely coloured animation:

Surreal Colour Drawing Inspired by Vvzela Kook

Past Shift Key Programmes

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