Season 2: Episode 5

Artist Karine Bonneval talks about listening to plants.


This season I am talking to artists and thinkers about the art of listening.

In the spring of 2019 I attended a Tree Sound Walk organized by French artist Karine Bonneval, who works on the topic of human-plant relations. She was as artist in residence at the Berlin gallery, Gru_nd with her project, Dé jardiner, or De-Gardening.

We spoke about her work in finding ways to help humans share empathy with plants. As Karine states, plants don’t have eyes or ears but they can feel and see and listen. They just use other tools.

Many of her works involve creating ways to bring out the sounds of plants so we as humans can listen to plant lives.

Because we don’t have any sense in common, it’s pretty hard to share a kind of empathy with plants, because they don’t have eyes, they don’t have ears. But they can feel, they can see, they can listen. But with other tools, so that’s what my work is all about.

– Karine Bonneval

Listen Here


How to regain empathy towards the non-human?

Karine Bonneval’s work focuses on the otherness of plants, and the complex and specific interactions that link humans and plants. In her projects, she is also interested in the way in which plant or human forms constitute a repertoire of references of all times used by artists. She was born in 1970 in La Rochelle, and lives in Jalognes, France. Since 2014, she has worked in collaboration with teams of scientists in the field of plant ecology.


Influence: Philippe Descola


Photo credits: Eva Abvril