Sonobotanics – Montreal edition

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Institute for Predictive Sonobotanics – Foundation for the Auralisation and Computation of Transient Objects

Sonobotanics is still a widely unknown science; it studies plants whose life experience is predominantly in the auditory domain. Since the 1970’s Dr. Hortensia Audactor has carried out the core research in this area. Despite difficulties encountered in the publication of her results, she has collected a substantial body of research about the growth patterns, communication behavior, and other characteristics of these plants. Recently, the field of Predictive Sonobotanics has been founded, attempting to create models of the plants with the aim of predicting the behavior of sonobotanic plants and to gain a deeper understanding of the subtleties in sonobotanic plant behaviour. In the exhibition models of the Periperceptoida Triquetrus Nutandis and the Periperceptoida Triquetrus Dependis are presented.

The models consist on one hand of a physical model, assembled from plywood, acrylics, felt and electronics, and on the other hand a computational model.

The materials are shaped — in an abstract way — after images of the real plants, as they have been observed in nature. The electronics are functional and made to mimic the senses of the real plants, by using capacitive sensing for measuring touch, using light, temperature and humidity sensors for environmental data, and a microphone for sonic data. The sensor data is gathered using the SenseStage wireless sensor boards. These boards are also used to control various physical, visual and sonic aspects of the model output, namely the turning of the plant towards the sun, the colour shade changes based on the emotional state, and the sonic diffusion.

The computational model is based around a parametric Lindenmayer system, with elements for the plant’s roots, stem, buds, leaves and flowers. Using realtime sensor data as inputs to this system, the model calculates how the environment changes the internal structure of the plant, and thus modeling the growth of the plant.

Concept/sound design/programming – Marije Baalman
Modular design and construction – Elio Bidinost

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