Julia Kunz: Collaborating with Plants – Kolloquium

Lea Verholen

Hands-on Presentation with special guest Shelley Etkin as part of the gardens & plots series


Dyeing with plants refers to the thousands of years of dyeing natural textile materials like linen, cotton, wool and silk before the invention of synthetic dyes at the end of the 19th century. Julia Kunz introduces us to techniques and processes of achieving natural colours from roots, leaves and blossoms. Together with Shelley Etkin, she will discuss some of the chemical, philosophical and ethical questions related to her collaboration with plants. What is the beauty of the colour achieved through plants? How to give appreciation to the plant for collaborating? Is the colour created in the process of dyeing, or is it already there?


The gardens & plots series brings together four artistic research projects at the Berlin University of the Arts that evolve from (urban) gardens and plots as sites of research and collaboration with both plants and humans. The projects draw attention to the plot as a site of conflict and resistance, and intervene in romantic imageries of the garden as a hermetic refuge and innocent “hortus conclusus.” The artists are dealing with struggles around land use and food sovereignty as well as with the oppressive heritage of cultivation techniques, botanical architectures, plant taxonomies, and the ways that humans relate to plants. Departing from different plots and gardens, the projects draw connections between agri- and horticultural ecosystems, environmental and political struggles, and related questions of community from various regions and times.

The series is part of the colloquium at the Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences (BAS) of Berlin University of the Arts.


Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences (BAS)