It is known that plants react to the environmental insults and
other external stresses and how those increase their genetic variations.
Studies prove that the stressed parent-plants give rise to ospring that
grows more tolerant to various environmental distresses and harsh
Mimosa, on the other hand, is a highly sensitive plant, which closes its
delicate leaves upon the slightest touch. It shows the ability however, to
lter the stimuli, which with time prove to be harmless. This way it
memorizes the stimulation patterns and adapts its own habits by
choosing not to close the leaves whenever the experience proves to be
The selective shyness of Mimosa, the coiling of tendril and the
Arabidopsis’s remembering the external stimulation all include proces-
ses of forming the memory of the event or the surrounding, retaining
the memory for distinct time periods and recalling it at a later point in
order to get a specic response.
Many of these mechanisms are involved in human memory as well,
including the electrochemical gradients. If plants exhibit dierent and
rather complicated types of memory and consciousness and if they are
aware of their environment - may they then be subject to the psycholo-
gical patterns or even pathologies associated with memory?
Algia Naturalis is a collection of abstract thoughts and surreal observa-
tions, which curiously tackles this idea. It imagines flora’s vulnerability
to melancholia, nostalgia and mourning. It proposes an emotional
psychological status of a plant and grants it an autonoetic cons-
ciousness – the ability to mentally place itself in the past and in the
future; and so with it - the ability to feel loss and suering.
Within the context of the Willen Arntsz Hoeve, one of the locations of
the psychiatric institution Altrecht GGZ, which is surrounded by the
forest and where the botanical presence is very dominant, plants were
given the main roles and were addressed in a tone of longing and
The patients were invited to contribute a name, a sound, a smell, an
image or another associative impulse to this behavioral bouquet.
In addition to the printed matter, a 7” record was produced in collabo-
ration with Christelle Gualdi and Mireille Speekenbrink. The audio
tracks are combined from the eld recordings of the natural sounds
around Willem Arntsz Hoeve and the spoken word poetry read by
Mireille and Christelle.
In the spring of 2014 Ola Vasiljeva was invited to the artist residency
“The Fifth Season” on the grounds of the psychiatric institution
Willem Arntsz Hoeve / Altrecht Mental Health in Den Dolder.
Vasiljeva created a work based on the mental state of plants that
grow in the forest area around the institution.