The Saliva Tree: Archiving the (Monster) TreeAuthor : Somasree Sarkar
Volume 8 No.2 April-June 2019 pp 139-144
To view culture as a multispecies and not as an anthropocentric one is the call of the era. The liberal Humanist idea of human as an autonomous entity is to be debunked, as culture involves not only Homo sapiens, but also other species – animals, plants, microbes, machines and hybrids. No species can dwell independently. Each species thrives in a network, interconnected and interdependent to each other. This network forms a culture of multispecies, where every being is akin to the other. Multispecies culture is all inclusive and all encompassing, disregarding the crippling binaries of human/ non-human, culture/nature, abled/disabled, normal/abnormal and so on. It is important to realize that each binary is an anthropocentric cultural construct. It must be discarded in order to create the culture of companion species, that is includes all forms of existence, not overlooking the ‘unwanted’ object as the minor ‘other’, in the anthropocentric view. The paper aims to argue that each species (highlighting the figure of tree in the paper) is an active actor in the bio cultural space. It strives to emancipate the figure of a tree from the clutch of anthropocentric notion, as ‘nature’/ ‘passive recipient’/ ‘care-giver’/ ‘mother’. To serve my purpose, I have chosen a Science Fiction, titled The Saliva Tree by Brian Aldiss. The fiction has an alien tree, functioning in a farm on the Earth. The tree has a horrendous physical appearance, is carnivorous and is non-sessile. All such features compile to render the arboreal creature as a ‘monster’, an identity imposed upon a misfit, considering it as a threat to the human-centered culture. I have argued how the farm with the ‘monster’ tree and other variety of species and machines becomes an archive, a dynamic biocultural space. It also enhances the botanical culture or ‘FloraCulture’, as termed by John Charles Ryan.
Multispecies, Culture, Science Fiction, Monster, Tree/Plant, Body, Assemblage, Archive, FloraCulture
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