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School of Politics and International Relations


When: Friday, September 8, 2023, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Where: Garden Museum

This exhibition is presented in partnership with Queen Mary, University of London, IHSS

The exhibition will run from 1st July 2023 to 8th September 2023.

Cabinet Cultures brings together academics, artists, and social media content creators to explore the practice of ‘hacking’ mass-produced display cabinets into indoor greenhouses.

This exhibit presents collaborative research exploring how we attach value to houseplants. Gathering research material through archive trawling, surveys, and interviews with Plantfluencers, our aim is to understand how we can change our collective attitude towards houseplants for a more ecologically just future.

Greenhouse cabinets offer a view into how relationships between people and houseplants take on different (and contradictory) forms, reasonings, and aesthetics. While many people on social media present care practices for their plants in ways that depict notions of home and plant kinship, others view their houseplants as products to be bought and sold on as investments. The single display cabinet thus emerges as a space containing diverse potentials for humans to connect with their houseplants.

This exhibition display seeks to capture this relationship between the general and the particular within plant culture(s), by utilising IKEA cabinets that house a different plant family or genus, each of which explores the multiple values and modes of ‘planting’. These include Scindapsus (aesthetic/monetary value), Bromeliaceae (ecological/use value), and Tradescantia (heritage/archival value), all very common houseplants.

Cabinet Cultures is co-curated between Dr Giulia Carabelli and artist-researcher Matthew Beach, with contributions from content creator Emma Angold (Good Growing) and botanical illustrator Sarah Gardner.

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