Alexandra Baumgartner
How like a leaf I am (2019–ongoing)

How like a leaf I am examines entanglements of human and plant life and our collective responsibility for the rapid decline of ecosystems. By investigating agrobiodiversity management, from research on soil and farming initiatives to community-based seed conservation, the project seeks out practices that account for cultural values and traditional knowledge. Laid out as an ongoing research project How like a leaf I am collects stories from people who are building niches and thriving for a comprehensive understanding of our environment.

The project advocates for the need to (re)learn how to read and live with our non-human environments. Arguing that only a deep bond will enable people’s behaviors to shift. The importance of this emotional connection with the land is emphasised by a layer of text setting out numbered instructions ranging in ease from ‘2. Find a spot you like, sit down for a while.’ to ‘7. Imagine being a leaf’. These worksheet-style instructions encourage spectators to not only engage with the work, but use it as a catalyst to immerse themselves in the world around them.

How like a leaf I am embraces complexity and locates issues of agrobiodiversity-loss in the centre of our society.

Alexandra Baumgartner (b. 1991, Switzerland) uses photography as a tool within her research-led practice. In 2019 she received her BA Camera Arts from the Lucerne School of Art and Design. Combining documentary approaches with scientific studies, artistic interpretations and collaborative working methods, Baumgartner investigates the urgent issues of our time. Her current work focuses upon the entanglement of plant and human life and our responsibility towards what we call “nature” in a time marked by ecological crisis. The dummy of this project was a runner-up at the Unseen Dummy Awards 2019.