Agnotology is the study of induced ignorance in the structure of scientific information. This project attempts to deal with a particular case of induced scientific ignorance using a resurrected form of curation to reassemble lost historical fragments.
The Peacock Flower’s abortifacient property was a carefully guarded secret by indegenous women in Suriname for centuries. When colonialism arrived on the continent, this knowledge was used as a means of self-determination by enslaved women. When colonial authorities discovered the flower’s properties, knowledge was actively surpressed through the deliberate neutralizing of historic records.
Today, samples of the flower sit in Harvard’s botanical archives with no mention of their medical properties importance to indegenous culture, a form of passive erasure. The installation attempts to recontextualize the collection and inject historical and cultural contexts back into a flat archive.
Harvard Graduate School of Design