Laboratory for Other Worlds was installed at the Bellevue Arts Museum from 2022-2023. It explored our connection to the more-than-human world of plants and microbes through the lens of the Environmental Humanities, an interdisciplinary area of study that combines art, philosophy, and science. This exhibition is a series of imagination exercises to de-center the human individual and to create space for non-human perspectives. Viewers are invited to push past the limits of objectivity and rationality to experience the installation as a set of tools or devices for understanding expanded ways of being with the wider world.


The installation is in four parts: Cthonos (a multimedia video installation), Plant Communication Devices, Psychic Corporeal Maps, and the Study Center. Photographs by Mark Woods Studio, Seattle, WA

Material list: saw horses, architechtural salvage, doll eyeballs, repurposed artwork, found and recycled material, paper pulp, grow lights, clay, sticks, tripod, video equipment, digital video
11ft W x 25ft L x 20ft H

"Cthonos" is from the Greek word cthonios, meaning "of, in, or under the earth and the seas." This work was inspired by more-than-human participatory research practices undertaken at All Faiths Cemetery in Queens, NY. This work takes into account the idea that human life and death are constituted through many non-human forces, from the microbes in our guts, to the insects, plants, and fungi that we live symbiotically with, to the gods and spirits that we summon, all of which connect us to a larger cosmology and to each other.

Cthonos, detail

The table top is meant to abstractly represent the ground line, with the human realm above ground, and the underground realm below.

Documentation video
Animated Video

This narrative sci-fi video runs behind the installation, Here you will see an abstracted, industrialized landscape grow a giant eye, which cries a tear that turns into a worm that calls down into the mychorrhizal network, summoning an earthcraft that spills out tentacles and feelers that spread flourishing. The text is a poem made from quotes by Ursula Le Guin and Donna Haraway.

Plant Communication Devices
Materials List: Paper machè, pulp (from recycled carboard with plaster, leaf clippings, and catnip), doll eyeballs, paper mâché, spray paint, sticks, a flagpole, found wood, insulation tape, wood, cardboard.

These devices are designed to heighten human sensitivity to plant sentience. Based on close observation of plant-body movement and plant-to-plant interaction in both indoor and outdoor plant populations, the artist has developed a series of devices designed to engage the viewer in imagination exercises based on the following questions: What if we could communicate with plants? What does a plant-caring ethic (creating care for the sake of care, not to extract value) look like? Do plants have a preferred aesthetic, and how are plants affected by our communication methods and ethics?  

Psychic Corporeal Maps with Plant Companion Device
Plant Companion Device
Plant Companion Device, detail
Psychic Corporeal Map: Earth
Oil and Graphite on Unstretched Canvas

Anywhere can be the center of the world.

- Black Elk


These psychic, corporeal cemetery maps were made to visualize the idea of “body territory:” that communal burial sites can be thought of as an extension of the human body. These are maps of All Faith’s Cemetery in Queens, NY and are rendered as psychic geography, seeing each place on earth as both completely unique, and equally important - along with its individual configurations of plants, animals, and spirits. This place contains multiple, concurrent timeframes and spatial realities that flow from one to another. To translate this cosmological space into Christian lexicon: these maps could be read in the same way as Hieronymus Bosch’s alter piece, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” as simultaneously representing Heaven, Earth, and Hell. 


Psychic Corporeal Map: Earth (detail)


The Earth Tapestry panel depicts All Faiths as transitory space. Hybrid creatures, a combination of grassy plants, winged insects, and human skeletons move through the space both above and below ground. The center of the garden holds a large monument to the dead, as well as to the life that flourishes in the immediate holobiome of the garden. The ring of animalistic mountains around the cemetery has a head, two arms, two legs, and a tail, indicating that while the cemetery is a land, it is also a body.

Psychic Corporeal Map: Heaven
Oil and Graphite on Unstretched Canvas


The Heaven Tapestry Map Panel depicts an intertwined, multispecies organism in which the below and above ground realms are combined into undifferentiated consciousness. Taking into consideration recent scientific thinking about “panpsychism,” the idea that consciousness pervades the universe, this work sees the under- and above-ground realm as suffused with a shared sentience. In this tapestry, we see human remains, tombstones, mycelial networks, roots, stones, land, air, tentacles, hands, and eyes meld into a single body of living tissue surrounded by grassy fur.

Psychic Corporeal Map: Heaven, detail
Psychic Corporeal Map: Hell
Oil and Graphite on Unstretched Canvas


The Hell Tapestry Map Panel is based on mythological images of the European world mountain. The mountain is shown as hovering in the air, made from an enormous pile of waste material emanating from the centralized, rational individual who sits in the center of geometrical garden paths. Just as this individual’s defecation is creating the world mountain, his breath is creating a cloud of industrial pollution topped by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion. Circled around are the creatures of the world, bleached to white, and chained to a monument representing financial and hegemonic world order. Around the outer circle are human remains, indicators of the endgame, zero-sum logic of mass consumption and inequity.

Psychic Corporeal Map: Hell, detail
Psychic Corporeal Map: Bellevue

Created for the Bellevue Arts Museum in 2022. The maps created for this project are psychological views of land that depict micro-geographies as living bodies. Here, the town of Bellevue, home to the Microsoft Corporation and intensive land use, is depicted as a living entity with the museum in the center, breaking through the grid of developed buildings.

Psychic Corporeal Map: Bellevue, detail

The Bellevue Arts Center (BAM) is surrounded by an underground view of mycchorizal networks intertwining, sometimes erotically, with human skeletons.

Psychic Corporeal Map: Bellevue, detail
Laboratory for Other Worlds, installation view
Study Center

The Study Center takes advantage of BAM's distinctive architectural features. The third floor galleries of the building respond to "Gnostoc time" a Christian calendar that is circular, focusing on the harvests and plant growth. Solar panels were installed the windows encircling the third floor, running an off-grid solar panel system that powers the Study Center.

Study Center

The off-grid solar panel systems runs the lights that help keep the Study Center's plants alive.

Study Center

Plants are capable of releasing beneficial chemicals that help cleanse the air and calm the human mind. There is strong scientific evidence that spending time with plants can enhance mental and physical well-being in humans. We evolved with plants, so it makes sense that we benefit from their presence. This is one of the many ways we are entwined with the more-than-human world.


Study Center

Close view of the Deer Fern.

Study Center

A small library of essential Environmental Humanities writings. Below is a full bibliography:

Donna Haraway, Staying With the Trouble (2016) Duke University Press

Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter, A Political Ecology of Things (2009) Duke University Press

Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures (2020) Random House

Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2015) Princeton University Press

Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human (2013)

Octavia Butler, Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995) Four Walls Eight Windows Press

Stephen Herrod Buhner, Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines to Life on Earth (2002) Chelsea Green Publishing

An online syllabus accompanies the Study Center. It is available here:

Study Center
Study Center

Note cards are made available for visitors to draw, make notes, and leave messages

The artist gratefully acknowledges the collaborators who have helped in the creation of this exhibition:


All of the thinkers and artists living and dead who have inspired this work including Donna Haraway, Anna Tsing, Debra Rose Byrd, Bruno Latour, Jane Bennet, Eduardo Kohn, Ursula K. Leguin, Elain Gan, and Octavia Butler, among many others.


My colleagues and friends without whose thinking, collaboration, and generous support this exhibition would not be possible including Carl Ferrero, Cynthia Lin, Jill Aukenthaller, Sarah Phillips, Andrew Ranaudo, Todd Weiner, Danielle Abrams, Mary Ellen Strom, Angelina Gualdoni, Jane Marsching, and Deb Todd Wheeler.


Tufts University FRAC Committee for their generous financial support of this project.


Lane Eagles, Andrew Walsh, Zoe Reid, Michael Whittington, and all the BAM crew and staff without whose work this show would not be possible.


And most of all, Steve Rosenstein.

_ _


This work is dedicated to the loving memory of Danielle Abrams, whose generosity of spirit inspired many of these works.