Spectacular Healing — Lifepatch

Spectacular Healing*

The video work is part of Lifepatch’s ongoing research related to colonialism of the Batak tribe in North Sumatra. It’s starting point is the pustaha, books that contain knowledge of medicinal herbs and traditional healing practices of the Batak. During colonial times hundreds of pustaha were taken away from Sumatra and ended up in European archives, collections and libraries which led to the loss of particular knowledge.

Pustaha are evidence of Batak’s practice to glean herbs and use them as common goods prior to using them in healing practices. This practice contrasts sharply with colonial commercial purposes of collecting and categorizing plants to monopolize knowledge and with today’s strive for industrial patents for commercial medication.

Lifepatch is a citizen initiative who as a community work in and with the cross-sections of art, science, and technology. All who are interested in learning-by-doing and collective making events, are generously invited to participate, self-organize and do workshops, each person bringing their particular skills to the community. Lifepatch members Sita, Timbil, and Geger join us online to introduce the video work followed by Q & A.

*Spectacular Healing (2019) is produced by Framer Framed Amsterdam, as part of the exhibition On the Nature of Botanical Gardens curated by Sadiah Boonstra (2020).


Booty - valuable stolen goods, especially those seized in war
Booty - someone’s bottom

Origin: Probably an alteration of ‘body’.

Booty, coercively expropriated goods, often in colonial and/or imperialist warfare, have il/legally shown up in y/our public museums and / as private collections of geopolitical artefacts for centuries. How to recover from stolen, lost, and forgotten heritage? Faced with epistemic violence – the selective acknowledgement of what counts as knowledge production – we may need to un/learn how to read, reconnecting to the archaist meaning of reading: to collect and gather from leftover margins, in an invitation to show and share hands, heads, faces, tongues and spirit/s, toward a reconfiguration of a historical present.

The afternoon is g/hosted by CPR, a nom de plume in affinity with heart massage and toward agroecological* reclamations of feminized common-pool resources. They write on intoxication via the concept Pharmakon, which considers all materials and substances capable of healing, creating, poisoning, and killing, depending on their dosage.

*agroecology is the not-scientific variant of agriculture, incorporating traditional and extensive cultivation of plants, lands, and not-necessarily-human people/s.