Shanghai

Zheng Bo, Pteridophilia 1–4, 2016–19, 4K video, color, sound, 68 minutes.

Zheng Bo, Pteridophilia 1–4, 2016–19, 4K video, color, sound, 68 minutes.

Zheng Bo

Institute of Contemporary Arts at NYU Shanghai 上海纽约大学当代艺术中心

Botanists and gardening enthusiasts have debated whether playing classical music helps a plant grow. But how about licking it? What if one starts to fellate the plant or, rather, one of its leaves? Nature abhors a vacuum, but does it really object to a nice long suck?

A young man moves his tongue up and down the length of a frond, tonguing the curled green bud at the end as though it were the head of an erect penis. Simultaneously, he moves his squatted ass crack up and down along another stem, groaning all the while, essentially being spit roasted by these two leafy exemplars of nature’s finest. In Pteridophilia 1–4, 2016–19, a suite of collaborations between flora and members of Taiwan’s queer community directed by Zheng Bo, nature is nurtured through the violence of sensuality. Save for one prolonged scene in which a young man munches aggressively on a bird’s-nest fern, I’d been told

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