Ask Somerset's Plants, Feral Practice & Marcus Coates, 2019

Somerset Art Works is delighted to commission Feral Practice and Marcus Coates to create a collaborative project for this year’s Somerset Art Weeks Festival (21 September-6 October).

Ask Somerset’s Plants is a new participatory sound art work that fosters connections between Somerset’s people and its plants, by bringing knowledge of local natural history to bear on our everyday human problems and dilemmas.

Ask Somerset’s Plants will be steered by the questions Somerset audiences want to pose. Not questions about nature or plants, as you might expect, but about people’s own lives and human society, questions that will vary from the political and societal to the deeply personal.With pressing questions to answer, the artists will consult Somerset’s plants, guided by the local botanists and wildlife experts that know them intimately. They will look at what happens in Somerset’s plant world asa mirror, and as a resource, for its human population.

Through these meetings and walks the artists will come to know Somerset’s diverse and unusual habitats. Each conversation will be audio recorded and edited to be broadcast on local radio, and shared as a digital download, during Somerset Art Weeks Festival (21September-6 October).

Ask Somerset’s Plants is an extension of Ask The Wild – a participatory project exploring knowledge beyond the human, which climbs across the barriers between different disciplines and opens up unexpected pathways of creative thinking for everyday life.

Ask Somerset’s Plants is commissioned by Somerset Art Works. Funded by Arts Council England.

About the Artists

Fiona MacDonald is an artist and researcher who works with human and nonhuman beings as Feral Practice to create art projects and interdisciplinary events that develop ethical and imaginative relations across species boundaries. Recent projects and exhibitions include: Mycorrhizal Meditation: The Bluecoat 2019, Taipei Biennale 2018, Radical Mycology, Oregon 2018, Further field Gallery 2017. Plant Hunting, 2018, commissioned by Invisible Dust for Whitby. Formica’s Forms 2019, chapter for Ethical Materialities in Art and Moving Images, Bloomsbury Press, 2019. Ask the Wild, Whitechapel Gallery, Tate St Ives, Turner Contemporary, Whitstable Biennale & The Ash Project, SLBI. Foxing, 2017, PEER London. Wood to World, London and Kent, 2016-17. Woodland Portrait Project, Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, 2015.

Marcus Coates is a performance artist, writer and filmmaker. His work continually draws parallels to examine how we perceive human-ness through imagined non-human realities. Recent projects and exhibitions include: The Last of Its Kind, Workplace Gallery 2018. The Sounds of Others, Innsbruck Biennale, Austria 2018. Ask the Wild, Whitechapel Gallery, Tate St Ives, Turner Contemporary, Whitstable Biennale and the Ash Project, SLBI, 2017-18. The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind, Hauser & Wirth, Somerset 2018. Sound Reasoning, Miners Institute, Newcastle 2017.Arrivals / Departures Public Works, Utrecht, NL2016. You Might As Well Ask A Crow, Workplace Gallery, 2016. Vision Quest, a ritual for Elephant and Castle 2009-2012. The Trip, Serpentine Gallery Studio 2011.

Twitter @feralpractice @askthewildInsta @feralpractice @marcus_coates

Call for Questions

We are looking for questions from people living and working in Somerset to produce the final work. Please watch the video below and submit your question to us by 31 May.

Submit your questions via
or call 0759 300 4305