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De Materia Medica: Mode d'Emploi

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


This outdoor workshop takes as its starting point Pedanius Dioscorides, the writer of De Materia Medica, after whom Parc Dioscoride is named. His book takes plants as the primary materials of medicine. We will consider the park and everything in it as medicine – if only we know how to use it. By making labels, instructions, and maps, we will create a user’s guide to the park, one that reflects the different names and memories that we each encounter there. It will be an invitation to wander, to translate sensory impressions into language, and to read the park as a healing space.

In discussing the names of plants and trees, we will consider their migratory movements and the role that colonialism has played in extracting knowledge and materials from other cultures. We will consider historical examples of the role of plants in the imagination, such as those used in the 1793 Republican Calendar, to replace religious symbolism. Rather than extracting plants for human use, we will explore different means of co-creating and co-existing with them, so that the park becomes a site of both translation and transformation.

Event (Workshop)

TitleDe Materia Medica: Mode d'Emploi
Degree of recognitionInternational event