Plant Cyborgs

(2020)

Meta.Morf X – Digital Wild, Gråmølna Trondheim Kunstmuseum, NO

In 2015 I started off an artistic collaboration with a houseplant. The plant, an ordinary baby rubber plant (P. obtusifolia) 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. 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 prosthesis. It would help the collaboration tremendously if we could be on the same time scale. After a lot of work with programmers, data scientists, and electrical engineers we managed to give the plant a prosthesis that reacted to its bio-signals with the help of machine learning.

Video documentation from the exhibition