On the Tip of the Tongue

Plant prints, copper pipes, UV light, two channel video (05:00)

In the work On the Tip of the Tongue, Franzén takes a closer look at the history of Dieffenbachia, a plant commonly known as Dumb Cane. The sap inside the cane and the leaves of the plant is toxic, if it comes into contact with the tongue it causes an immediate swelling that prevents speech, thereof the name ‘dumb’. Dieffenbachia is native to the Caribbean where it was used as a means of torture during the slave era. The stem was rubbed on the lips of slaves causing their mouths to swell, and rendering them unable to speak as a means of punishment. Today, Dumb Cane is one of the most common houseplants and it is frequently used as an ornamental plant in public environments in Sweden and elsewhere.