Cynthia Fan & Hayden Malan

London | Cape Town | Amsterdam

Pear_ed is a collaborative project from Cynthia Fan and Hayden Malan. Their shared enquiry into botany, biology and art centres on the guiding question:

"What do plants really want?" At once resisting and quoting traditions of flower arranging, the pair's botanical compositions become a medium for spending (more) time with organic matter and listening to the non-human sentient. The plants, shifting and changing over the course of the project, insist their autonomy - some wilt, others send out aerial roots, growth and decay persist.

Cynthia Fan is a florist and PhD graduate from The University of Edinburgh's Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences. Hayden Malan is a landscape architect and artist. Together, they share a preoccupation with the sculptural potential of plants as both natural organisms and modular structures.

Currently, the focus is on the identification of unusual plants found between Cape Town and Edinburgh, and provides GPS coordinates to each unique location.

The plants share common features and are effectively in conversation with one another. We provide scientific, cultural and indigenous knowledge that we have gathered about each plant. These are presented through a parallel Instagram page that tracks the conversation.

Through this conversation and the sharing of plant knowledge we are able to provide educational interest as well as draw attention to the importance of plant biodiversity.


Before - once you think about it, surely long before - the weapon, a late, luxurious, superfluous tool; long before the useful knife and ax; right along with the indispensable whacker, grinder, and digger - for what's the use of digging up a lot of potatoes if you have nothing to lug ones you can't eat home in - with or before the tool that forces energy outward, we made the tool that brings energy home. It makes sense to me. I am an adherent of what Fisher calls the Carrier Bag Theory of human evolution.
Ursula K. Le Guin in Dancing at the Edge of the World

Referencing Elizabeth Fisher in Women's Creation
The first cultural device was probably a recipient .... Many theorizers feel that the earliest cultural inventions must have been a container to hold gathered products and some kind of sling or net carrier.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that everything you can ever imagine has already been done. They are incorrect.
Sumayya Vally for Counterspace’s manifesto

I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want.
Andy Warhol