Plant Cyborgs

(2020)

H16 x W20 x D20 (in.)

Baby rubber plant (P. obtusifolia), electrodes, motorized prostheses, microcontroller, machine learning network

Digital Wild – Meta.Morf X Biennale for Art and Technology , Gråmølna Trondheim Kunstmuseum, NO
I Am a Multitude – Festival Exhibition at the Arctic Arts Festival 2021, Galleri Nord-Norge, Harstad, NO

In 2015, I started a collaboration with a houseplant from my studio. The plant, an ordinary baby rubber plant happened to sit on my desk when I asked What is life? I started simply by spending time with the houseplant. This grew a bodily connection. Through multiple experiments, we have made series of sculptures together where I have processed the sculptures on our behalf.

I discovered that we have another commonality in the biosignals going through our bodies. By amplifying the electrical signals via electrodes on my scalp and on the plant’s leaves, we could listen to each other’s vibrations. During the experiments on the plant’s electrophysiology, I wondered if the plant could be taught to move a robotic body. With the help of engineers, I built a prosthesis for the plant so that it could move with its own biosignals. The signals to the plant are interpreted by a machine learning network which then moves the motors in the feet of the plant. It was a great help for the collaboration that the plant was able to move in my time-space.

Video documentation from the exhibition

Anthro-botanical investigations from the atelier

(2019)

Galleri Hans, Ørland, NO

Photo documentation from visiting Galleri Hans

Over the past year, I’ve been researching how six houseplants interact with each other and the things around them. They have robotic prostheses as a tool for me to see their reactions immediately instead of weeks later.

This resulted in a journal with observations and reflections around the life of the houseplants:

Vegetal Connections

(2018)

Atelier Nord, Oslo, NO

With contributions from Renate Synnes Handal, Inger-Reidun Olsen, Sara Rönnbäck, Robert Printa & Dvd Kumlin/Emil Jessen.

For the exhibition, I invited artists that in their own ways deals with collaborations with plants and other non-humans.

In the exhibition, I had three plants with robotic prostheses that used their own biosignals to move the prostheses.

Monologue about the collaboration (3:30 minutes, in Norwegian)
http://bit.ly/KjennePlante

For the exhibition, I invited Robert Printa to work auditory with the plant signals, and Emil Jessen worked on the signals with video synthesizers.

Audio documentation of performance at the opening: http://bit.ly/PlantsPrinta

Review “The Plants’ Internet” at http://www.kunstkritikk.no/kritikk/plantenes-internett/ (in Norwegian)