Blessings in Disguise: Transmission of secrets, euphemisms and vernacular plant knowledge.

Wendy Morris and deep histories fragile memories

‘This is how you make a good medicine to throw away a child’, Jamaica Kincaid’s mother teaches her, midway in an exhausting list of instructions to her daughter. The vocal transfer of knowledge passed from woman to woman, from generation to generation, was a fragile form of transmission and many of the recipes and remedies that women once shared to attain reproductive autonomy, have been forgotten. In the age of exploration (male) botanists showed little interest in documenting vernacular knowledge of plants used by women – with the exception of those used by enslaved women to abort a pregnancy. In this gathering we are going to examine what is still remembered of plants once known and used by women in the form of stories, folk songs and vernacular names of plants that indicated their uses. There will be a recording session, for those who wish to participate, in which these memories, together with material lying dormant in old herbals, will be read, sung, chanted, whispered or muttered. The intention is to reintroduce old knowledge back into circulation as a revival of oral traditions, but in experimental form.

Organized by Wendy Morris and deep histories fragile memories.

This event is part of the exhibition No one would have believed. This event is an online workshop.