Online conversation
In House: Artist in Residence

Politics of Plants. Preliminary Questions

Zheng Bo & Elaine Gan

21 June marks the Solar Term Summer Solstice in the East Asian lunisolar calendar, describing the day with the most hours of sunlight in the year. On this date, Elaine Gan and Zheng Bo talked about rice, a flowering grass that feeds over half of the Earth’s human population.


Zheng Bo, LIFE IS HARD. WHY DO WE MAKE IT SO EASY?, 2018. Commissioned by Thailand Biennale, Krabi, and supported by Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Photo: Abdulromae Taleh

  • 60 min.
  • In English

Past Dates

Their conversation focused on the possibility of political agency and resistance in the complex relationships between rice, humans, water, nitrogen, birds, insects and viruses.

During the conversation, Zheng took a walk on Hong Kong's Lantau Island, US. Listeners were invited to do the same: to take a walk in nature, to listen to the conversation and imagine possible relations between humans and other beings.

Elaine Gan is an artist-theorist who teaches at New York University at the centre XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement, where she also directs the Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab. Gan is co-editor of an interdisciplinary anthology, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), and author of a forthcoming book about the temporalities of rice agroecologies.

Zheng Bo is an artist and theorist currently based on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. As this year’s In House: Artist in Residence, he is exploring how equality between species on the planet can be reimagined and realised. During his residency, Zheng is deepening his research through exchange with scientists and is holding events on the Solar Terms of the year, beginning with this series of live conversations.