Mythological story of Daphne is the first botanical transformation in Ovid's Metamorphoses, one of the most influential literary works of western culture. The story is also one of the earliest written records mentioning attempted sexual violence ever. In the story, water nymph Daphne runs through the forest from lustful god Apollo, who, driven by passion and desire, longs to catch his prey. Change the body that destroys my life! shouts nymph into the air at the very last moment before her transformation into a plant, which is the only possible way to escape from rape. Her feet, just now so swift, hold fast in sluggish roots. But how to interpret mythology of Daphne's transformation in contemporary context of 21. century framed by rape culture and constant attempts by politicians to control bodily autonomy? Could be botanical metamorphosis of nymph viewed otherwise than a story based on binary oppositions of nature to culture, human to nature or woman to man? And how to think about transformation of human body into a plant in times of climate catastrophe, when more-than-human relationality becomes a necessity?
We need a new mythology informed by the history of violence and domination from which it emerges, but at the same time does not give up on the search for a new sensitivity to more-than-human beings and the planet. Nowadays, the transformation of human body into a plant is no more an act of silencing, as the original myth presented it... Quite the opposite! We grow different today...and our feet, just now so swift, hold fast in resistant roots.
CREDITS: art direction, 3D modeling, animation: Paula Malinowska, soundscape: Andrej Žabkay, video editing: Vladimíra Vrbiňáková, voice-over: NaiKavols