Hayward Gallery in London inaugurates the exhibition Among the Trees. 

The exhibition features, among others, artists Tacita Dean, Jimmie Durham, Simryn Gill, Rodney Graham, William Kentridge, Zoe Leonard, Robert Longo, Sally Mann, Steve McQueen, Mariele Neudecker, Ugo Rondinone, George Shaw, Robert Smithson, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall.

The exhibition catalogue contains texst by Ralph Rugoff (director Hayward Gallery), Jeffrey Kastner (Cabinet magazine) and Matteo Pasquinelli (HfG Karlsruhe). Matteo Pasquinelli contributes with a Warburgian excursus on the history of the tree as a symbolic form of knowledge.


The Arborescent Mind: The Intelligence of an Inverted Tree

The aim of this text is not to prove a linear academic thesis, but to record a spectrum of homologies and resonances across the history of the tree as a symbolic and logic form. The inspiration for this Warburgian excursus derives from the recognition that a plant is found at the centre of ancient cosmologies as much as at the centre of modern epistemologies. The tree form has been adopted as readily to support religious architectures as it has the abstract world of logic. “We’re tired of trees” remarked the French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari in 1980, after reading Julien Pacotte’s book Le réseau arborescent, schème primordial de la pensée. As early as 1936 Pacotte thus explored the abstract tree form in disciplines such as mathematics, biology and chemistry. He believed that the ramifying network is a “universal aspect of intimate reality” and “the very foundation of formal thought.” […]  However, Deleuze and Guattari’s own dichotomy between tree and rhizome happened to be superseed by information technologies themselves and specifically by the neural networks of artificial intelligence… Neural networks are able to turn rhizomic networks into the source of a centralizing intelligence.

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Previously published as: Matteo Pasquinelli, “The Arborescent Mind: The Intelligence of an Inverted Tree”. In: Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll (ed.) Botanical DriftProtagonists of the Invasive Herbarium. Berlin: Stenberg Press, 2018.