4. Siobhán McGibbon

Xenophon: Making Odd: a Goat, a Bee, a Psyllid, Fungus, Knotweed and Me

by Siobhàn McGibbon

19 Apr 2024
1 Aug 2024

Irish artist and researcher Dr. Siobhan McGibbon builds a fictional world to discover an alternative kinship with non-humans. In this fictive world, ‘Xenophon’, the beings (Xenothorpians) have the ability to mutate by merging with other species. In her pieces she becomes Xenothorpian by merging with with Japanese Knotweed and other beings that are put into conflict with each other by humans (goats and insects among others).


Xenophon Exhibition - Jada Maij

The Scent of Xenothorphians

In a residency at Mediamatic, Siobhàn worked on adding an olfactory element to her work. Under the guidance of Mediamatic Aroma Lab experts, Siobhan created a scent of Xenothorpians after they have fused with other creatures. The scent will be part of Siobhàn's exhibition at Mediamatic.

About the artist

Siobhán McGibbon is a Visual Artist, Researcher and World-builder with a transdisciplinary, art, science and narrative practice. Her expression merges sculpture, animation, drawing, text, permaculture and participatory installations. Siobhàn uses world-building as a framework to conduct multispecies research through a speculative and scientific fictitious lens. This alter-imaginary is populated by Xenothorpians, a fluid species that commune, mutate and merge with living and non-living entities to adapt to the Anthropocene. Their hybridisations provide a backdrop from which new stories emerge- a satirical approach to the problem of humans and a lens to query the possibilities of multi-species futures. 

Critical to this world-building practice is the question of what happens when one decentres the human? How does this shift in focus bring other perspectives into view? What other worlds can we world?

Japanese Knotweed Festival

This exhibition is part of the Japanese Knotweed Festival. A recurring festival in which we explore our cultural relationship with plants.

Mediamatic organizes a festival every spring around Japanese knotweed, a fast-growing plant known in Europe for its intrusive properties. What many do not know, however, is that this plant species has a host of positive properties. During this festival, we explore how to live in harmony with this controversial plant.

Find the whole program here!