Sophie Rogers >>

Ferntree Gully

September 11th - October 11th 2017

Skelf presents Ferntree Gully, a new exhibition by the artist Sophie Rogers

Various studies have shown that plants have a complex Internet of their own, within which they are able to communicate with one another through electrical signals and airborne messages. Research has shown that plants often have a hidden language with which they are able to communicate danger to their siblings and neighbours; an example of this is the smell of freshly mown grass, this, to humans is a delightful scent of Spring, but to plants, it is a distress call warning neighbours and siblings of immediate danger.

The Skelf website has become the soil from which an ecosystem has grown consisting of fantastical plants which have their own defence mechanisms whether it is a song or an emission of signals. The project consists of an animation within which the sun begins at midday and slowly sets affecting the plants, like in real life. Parallels are drawn between the real world and this digital base connecting natural elements of plant ecosystems with this manufactured version. In the Fantasy animation FernGully, the protagonist Crysta; a fairy of the forest defeats the evil Hexxus, her weapon is a seed rather than a revolver allowing the produce of nature to share the heroic role with her. 

Accompanying Ferntree Gully are two texts by Alana Francis and Poppy cc-ed.

Click here to go to the exhibition >>

In 1973 Cleve Baxter undertook Polygraph tests to experiment on Plant Stimuli.

Authorities were unable to accept that emotional plants “might originate in a supra material world of cosmic beings which, as fairies, elves, gnomes, sylphs, and a host of other creatures, were a matter of direct vision and experience to clairvoyants among the Celts and other sensitives.”

In 1979 the study was made into a book, which was made into a film, which had an accompanying soundtrack.

Same Old Story

On we go to where who knows
To a place where there's still non-believers
What will it take for heaven sakes
For those who find what's real too hard to believe in
It's that same old story again.

Mary MayB 1 Year Ago

Y'all people,this man knew this was going to happen decades ago...tell me this song saw the immediate future!!! Song used scare the mess out me. Not only a precursor to techno music, but look everywhere...this track was the truth. Wake up!!!!!!

In 1992 the Fern Gully soundtrack lyrics personified the living ecosystem of an endangered rainforest.

Raining Like Magic

The forest is breathing
Ferns are rejoicing
MrGabeanator 2 months ago
The mystic isles brought me here…

He left us “the” seed in order that we fertilise her

At night after reading, I often fall asleep with my laptop running on the pillow beside me.

YouTube loves to autoplay Plantasia by Mort Garson for me.

Luna 10 months ago

I’m growing roots I started growing roots after listening to this 3 years ago. (They haven’t stopped growing yet!)

The sounds designed to nurture and stimulate plant stimuli seem to have had a similar effect on human listeners.

An effect that the digital distribution of the sound seems to have facilitated.

Maybe one day I’ll wake up restrained by tangles of vines and cables.

Sweating in the undergrowth of a thicket created by the plants in my room.

The dim glow of the screen will vibrate with the pulse of the jungle around me.

Leaves are antennae that span beyond our galaxy.

I’m not sure if I’ve slept.

Hello flower
Boy, do you look juicy
And you know just what I’m coming to get, right

Don’t eat me
Please don’t eat me
I’m trapped in your love
Save me, don’t hurt me

Poppy cc-ed, 2017


What You Need
• Clean, glass containers with large enough openings to place plants inside
• Small stones (gravel, pebbles, broken pottery or something similar)
• Potting charcoal
• Sand
• Soil
• Plants
• Landscaping accessories
• Funnel (optional)
• Chopsticks or kitchen tongs (optional)

1. Select your vessel. It should be neither too large or too small. Too fat or too thin. It will become the vessel of your soul.
2. Begin by placing drainage at the bottom of the container. If your terrarium will be closed with a lid, you'll want to be sure to add a thin layer of crushed charcoal to help keep the soil fresh.
3. Pour a layer of sand across the top of the rocks (and charcoal)
4. Take some of the charcoal and mark two horizontal lines underneath each eye, frown into the mirror. Now you’re ready to continue.
5. Add soil, making sure to create a hole large enough for the roots of each plant. Remember that creating uneven layers of sand and soil can look great, but pay close attention the levels around the edges as this is what you will see from outside the terrarium. Steps 1-3 should equal about one-third the height of your selected container with the soil layer being the thickest.
6. Hold hands in front of face. Carefully investigate the small clumps of soil trapped under nails. Fingertips dipped.
7. Stand in garden centre for approximately 3 hours. Wait for the plants to speak to you – only choose plants that speak your language.
8. Remove your plant from the container and brush off the loose soil around the roots.
9. Place your plants in the soil, largest to smallest, and lightly pack the soil. Be careful not to over plant. Consider the space for other landscaping opportunities like moss, hopes, ground cover, dreams, geodes and or small figurines.
10. Be sure to mist terrarium regularly. An unmisted terrarium is a dead terrarium.
11. If you kill your terrarium repeat steps 1-10 but not 11.
12. Take the contents of your dead terrarium and place it in a black bag. Select your preferred burial method, acceptable Choices: burial at sea, cremation, top of the compost heap, Viking burial.

Alana Francis, 2017


Sophie Rogers is a video based artist whose practices focuses on the act of storytelling. Rogers' work explores the potential of childhood reveries through the digital and the everyday; creating fantastical surrealist fantasies. Rogers is based in London and has had work exhibited at the Barbican Centre, Tate Modern as part of Offprint London with Self Publish Be Happy and again with Future Late; the opening of the Switch House. She was selected to participate in Masterclass 2017 hosted by the Zabludowicz Collection and most recently presented her first solo exhibition as part of Academy Costumes Residency in partnership with Platform, Southwark.

Alana Francis is an artist working with image and text. She recently graduated from the Royal Academy Schools and had a solo exhibition at Flowers Gallery, London. In 2017 she was invited to be present the first live performance art in the history of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Skelf is a virtual project space, accessible to anyone, everywhere.

Existing entirely online since 2016, we have presented work by over 120 artists and writers on our virtual platform. You can view these works in our archive. In 2019 we launched a series of eight quarterly group exhibitions, each presented by a different guest curator and accompanied by a podcast by Mark Beldan. You can listen, download or subscribe to the podcast below - or through your usual podcast supplier.

We are delighted to have been funded by Arts Council England and over the next two years will be working with artists whose work employs gesture, touch or movement and exploring how these physically-orientated practices could be translated into a virtual experience. New work will be on the site from Spring 2021.