This botanic study identifies 3 vegetal tropical species still unknown in modern treaties of plants. The morphology of each one of them shows us their exotic beauty but also warns us of their danger.
These are plants that in mistaken hands can be a threat for the life and in expert hands could be lethal.
These are bushes of which their benefits are unknown and have been lethal for the expeditionary ones throughout the last years of the colonization process. Plants that stand still, confronting with their beauty the people who approach them, charming like mermaids, enchanting to those who do not know their proper uses to fall in their spell with the danger of not being able to go back to reality.
The natives of the areas where they grow maintain in secret their medicinal and healing uses; and for this itself, these three species have been related to witchcraft and rituals where its ingestion promotes the altered state of consciousness opening the doors for secret dimensions but with a big risk where without the correct ingest or use of these plants the person could get lost.
This project tries to reveal the secret identity of each one of these plants.
Dolosa Oscura is a genus of the 3 species of flowering plants that belongs to the Ceratophylum family. These are small arboreal species with a unique feature called Umbatropism (Capacity of the arboreal plants from the family of the Ceratophylum to move
themselves towards darkness). Dolosa Oscura is a native plant from South America found in the heart of the Amazon jungle. Like many exotic ornamental plants Dolosa Oscura is toxic. All parts of Dolosa Oscura are potentially poisonous, with the fruit and the leaves being specially dangerous. The uncontrolled intake of Dolosa Oscura can lead to hallucinogenic effects described more as terrifying rather than pleasurable. The intake induces to a powerful trance with violent and unpleasant effects, and dark hallucinations, sickening after effects and sometimes insanity. The deliriums are characterized by a complete loss of awareness of the hallucinating status, total disconnection from reality and amnesia. The plant is so addictive that many people find themselves not only ritually taking the tea made out of the leaves but abusing its consumption to get to altered states of consciousness. But the biggest part of not having an unpleasant trip is related with the consciousness of the power that the plant have and its dangers.
The existence of Dolosa Oscura as a „Plant of power“ with hallucinogenic properties demonstrates how a living being can manage to create in itself an unique strength to adapt to it´s environment no matter how hard the conditions are. Historically, hallucinogens have been used in religious or shamanic rituals. In this context the are referred to as entheogens and they are used to facilitate healing, divination, communication with spirits and as a tool of empowerment of the individual and collective spirit.
In Colombia the connection with plants like this one is fundamental to maintain a sense of resistance and identity towards the inner struggles that has lead the country to more than 60 years of war. Communities that live in between the armed conflict under difficult environmental and economic circumstances reline their close relation to nature to survive. These groups of people share a common characteristic with these plants, the capacity to survive under extreme conditions and still make it alive while challenging the oppositors.
*This project was exhibited in the Filmouflage exhibition with the same name as the plant “Dolosa Oscura” in Berlin in 2016.