Messages to a Post Human Earth

  • May Abdalla
  • United Kingdom
  • 2021
  • 45 min
  • Digital, Immersive, Performance
  • International Premiere
  • DocLab: Liminal Reality, IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction

In 1981, the Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem wrote an essay for the Human Interference Task Force. This body was discussing a formidable problem: how can warnings about the dangers of stored radioactive waste still be understood in ten thousand years’ time? Languages die out and are forgotten; and by that time, no one knows whether there will be any people at all.

Lem proposed to encode warning messages in the DNA of plants in the form of visible genetic mutations. This idea, as well as pioneering research into plant behavior and cognition by evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano, is explored in an interactive, multi-sensorial journey designed for two people to experience together.

In a real garden, you and your partner discover that the natural world is a hearing, living thing, sensorially alert just as you are. Your journeys are different but will work in synchronicity—like a symbolic choreography, the actions of each of you become a performance for the other. Audio narration and AR content combine to invite musing on the living environment and a future world in which humans will no longer be present.

Project supported by DocLab R&D Program. 

This live edition of Messages to a Post Human Earth follows the prototype presented at DocLab in 2020.


  • 45 min
  • Spoken languages: English
Created by
May Abdalla
Kirsty Jennings for Anagram, Anetta Jones
Key collaborator
Barry Gene Murphy, Michael Golembewski, Amy Rose, Selene Mazon
Executive producer
Kirsty Jennings for Anagram

IDFA history

International Premiere
DocLab: Liminal Reality
IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction

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IDFA history

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