Cultivating a market for plant porn

Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats has developed gritty film and video for an underserved audience: the plant kingdom.

Plants in the act.
A scene from Jonathon Keats' Cinema Botanica plant-porn video series. Jonathon Keats

Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats has few qualms about exploiting the behavior of nonhumans. For one of his projects, presented last year, he choreographed a ballet danced by honeybees. For his latest project--video pornography for plants--he has gone even farther off-species and, many would say, farther still off the deep end.

Keats calls the genre Cinema Botanica and billed its gallery premiere, scheduled for September 10 at the 1078 Gallery, in Chico, Calif., as the "world's first porn theater for house plants." The logic behind the project, which now includes a trailer on YouTube showing plants being pollinated, is that "humans have more entertainment than they can endure. Yet organisms with populations far greater than ours are routinely ignored by MGM and Disney," says Keats, who is based in San Francisco.

Keats shot videos--"in gritty black and white"--of dozens of plants in flagrante delicto. He makes no claim, though, that the begonias in your window planter will become lusher--or seedier--after being exposed to the images. He's also looking for remuneration for his work. He says he'll take aim at the home video market and, to make the material financially accessible to plants, maybe take payment in fruit.

No one said being a plant porn star would be easy.

 

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