How well do we know other species that share this earth, and how are they represented in our works? 

Graphic Design by Dóra Haraldsdóttir

The performance art festival Plöntutíð was founded as a platform for performance artists that put nature at the forefront of their artistic practise, with the aim of working outside of anthropocenic artmaking. Plönutíð claims space for artists to develop works and showcase experiments that take an ecocentric point of view. Artist’s work with live performances on topics related to: nature, plants, animals, gardening, biodiversity, the ecosystem, planetary boundaries, “the sixth extinction”, sustainability and so forth. In this talk the founder and artistic director Andrea Vilhjálmsdóttir tells the story of how a festival for performances made with and for plants came to life. Andrea talks about the projects that formed the first edition of the festival and how it has since evolved. Giving insight into what the artists on this year’s festival were working with and the questions the performances raised for her as a curator. She offers a short experiment, to be with a plant and see what happens…

“So why make performance art with or for plants? For me now it’s an exploration in finding stories and meaning in other living beings that also tell us some truth about the human condition on earth.”

In light of catastrophic global warming, global pandemic and new emerging values Plöntutíð is rethinking and expanding the idea of cross-cultural and international collaborations as well as the festival production process itself. It seems that the festival’s sustainable focus on working methods, production and artistic creation had a humbling and self-empowering effect on artists and the connections between them on a local scale. The festival team therefore looks for a mind shift in how we think about connecting globally as artists and arts communities. Our vision is for the festival’s curatorial framework to travel around ecosystems, interact with artists and audiences in their local habitat and from that create an archive that can document the different ways we as theatre and performance artists connect to the nature we belong to.

Andrea Elín Vilhjálmsdóttir is a freelance dramaturge and theatre- and performance maker. She has been involved in numerous productions in the theater and performing arts scene in Iceland. Her most recent work as a dramaturg is Ásta in the National Theatre and Nine Lives in the City Theatre, both shows dealing with staging personal stories of remarkable people. Last year she created the independent performance festival, Plöntutíð (e. Plant-times), in an attempt to foster works that explore non linear dramaturgies and ways to move beyond the human-centered focus in theatre and performance art. Andrea received a BA degree from the department of Theater and Performance making at the Iceland University of Arts in 2016 and a BA degree from the Department of Folklore at the University of Iceland in 2014.