The last introduced projects were characterized by its approach of attaching data to a plant. In this project “Charisma Garden” (2013 - 2014), the data will be directly integrated in the health and growth process of a plant. In comparison to the “Travelling Plants” and “Dead Tree Project”, the data is not added to the plant then rather the representation of the data is the plant by itself in this project. In relation to the chapter “3.1. Visualizing techniques with plants” on page 44, the “Charisma Garden” project can be assigned to the category plant displays and takes over the role as a data sculpture. This dynamic (visually changing) data sculpture presents the social activity of a Facebook user.
Long time ago I posted my last summary of my Twitter messages, however for me it is always a nice way to reexperience the developments of a time period. For this reason my most important Twitter messages from July 2013 until October 2014. Read more...
The previous project “Travelling plants” explored the possibilities of connecting digital communication technology with plants. People’s reaction emerged like expected, but the involvement of digital communication technology provides still some space for further experiments. Therefore, the new experiment named “Dead Tree Drop” connects and stores location-based digital data directly on a plant within an urban natural environment. In the course of this thesis the strong relationship between plant-based artwork and its environment were described before. For this reason plants can be associated with local characteristics. Moreover, humans like to stay and rest in natural environments, where they often like to read books and magazines. These initial conditions inspired me to create a physical interface for local-based digital information within natural urban environments.
The previous chapter described the artwork “Season Patterns”, which captured natural environmental changes. The interactive relationship only existed between the artist and his surrounding natural environment. In contrast to that, the collaboration project “Travelling Plants” with Juliane Springsguth created a direct interactive relationship between plants and humans as well as between humans and humans.
The interaction between humans and plants intended to improve the human well-being. This improvement was applied in an urban context, where the daily life is characterized by stress and appointments [Shoemaker2002, page 140]. Public transport as a public space is a location where people have the time to rest, although the environment does not provide a relaxing friendly atmosphere. Under these circumstances, a setting with plants has the ability to transform a stressful mood to a relaxing state of mind more easily [Shoemaker2002, pp. 181]. The famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted assigned plants a healing power for the human mind [Flagler1994, page 232]. Read more...
After exploring and describing the theoretical botany knowledge for Human Plant Interfaces in chapter 2, the chapter 3 has investigated contemporary Human Plant Interfaces in interactive art, media art and human computer interaction. This section explores new applications for interacting with or through plants in urban or interior environments. The methodology of the practical works is based on the research outcomes of chapter 2 and 3.
Artists and designers do not always use plants directly for expressing their ideas. Their various artistic approaches bridge the gap between different disciplines. In this chapter I will present artworks that holding a connection to plants, but stronger connections to other disciplines, like wearable technology, playful interfaces, generative art, robotic and bio art. This summary will outline their artistic expressions beyond a direct human plant interaction.
After the introductions “Visualization techniques with plants” and “Biosensing for Human Computer Interaction” the next projects using some of the already mentioned techniques. However, this chapter focuses on various approaches of network and community designs. Previous Land Art initiatives and projects were always closely tied to social and cultural resonance. These efforts resulted in social activations of local communities and local conditions [KastnerWallis2010, pages 15-28].
Our exploration investigates the application of current technology and design tools in this field. We will start with community design approaches that do not need a physical presence of humans. Design approaches for location-based communities with a supportive use of digital communication technology will be described afterwards.
The previous chapter explored the possibilities of biosensing with plants. Partially, it reveals some methods for translating plant perceptions into electronic signals (e.g. “Pulsu(m) Plantae”). Movement and locomotion are always connected with perception [Ingensiep2001, page 303; Chamovitz2013, pp. 15]. The perception signal and the movement abilities of a living organism define how the movement will be performed. This interaction has an explosive power in philosophy. These two abilities (perception and movement) determine the differences between plants and animals. More or less, the latest scientific findings reveal that plants are able to perceive their environment and react on these circumstances [Chamovitz2013]. These results cast doubts on our philosophical classification of plants and animals. This topic has an enormous impact for our ethical consciousness. If we put plants and animals to an almost equal level, than we cannot destroy and treat plants like we used to do. It is important to have this background for understanding the ideas behind the listed artworks. Furthermore, I will focus on the locomotion capabilities of plants and less on their movement capabilities. The artistic expression related to movement and kinetic gestures were discussed in “3.1. Visualizing techniques with plants”.
After the analysis of “Visualizing techniques with plants”, we will explore interactions for human computer interaction (HCI) through plants. The objectives of this research are revealing technical approaches and which kind of interaction can be performed.
Interactions between humans and computer is usually implemented by sensors. In 2009 Dan Saffer defined a sensor for human computer interaction like this:
A sensor is typically an electrical or electronic component whose job is to detect changes in the environment [Saffer2009, page 13].
We are surrounded by plants and plants are able to sense changes in our environment. The increasing problem with our environment forces us to reconsider our usage of technology. Hybrid solutions between natural resources and our current technology is able to decrease our current environmental issues [ICC2007, pages 15-21]. For this reason, it is obvious to explore the plant abilities of sensing for HCI. The sensor belongs to the basic components of any gestural system, which is used in HCI applications [Saffer2009, page 13]. In our context we replace the common electronic sensor with a plant. An additional electronic circuit translates these bio signals into electronic computer-readable signals. Accordingly to this approach, the gestural system is completed again. Read more...
Nowadays information becomes more pervasive and crucial in a knowledge-based society [ZhaoMoere2008]. Therefore it is important for a society to develop an easy access to communicate meaning and functionality of information [MoereOffenhuber2009]. The easiest information access exists in our natural everyday physical environment. Public screens attempt to address this task. Unfortunately, current public screens hold several disadvantages for our public environment. They need a dedicated flat surface, illuminating their surrounded environments, and address only the visual sense. Furthermore, people often associate public screens with advertisement and pay less attention to them [MoereOffenhuber2009]. Therefore, it is rational to investigate information displays beyond the traditional screen-based visualizations. Plants are one of these objects, which are omnipresent in our daily physical environment. For this reason, data sculptures with plants might be an alternative approach to solve the problems of public screens and reach wide audiences. The following artworks are interpreted as the next development steps of the contemporary plant-based artworks from chapter 2.3 “Ethnobotany”. In this stage electronic and digital technology is applied to plants.
Within the scope of my research I will present a qualitative evaluation of visualizing techniques with plants. The evaluation model is based on the comparison methods developed by Andrew Vande Moere, Dietmar Offenhuber [MoereOffenhuber2009], and as well as Matthew Brehmer, and Tamara Munzner (2013) [BrehmerMunzer]. The evaluation result reveals their visual encoding techniques, and which characteristic of data they visualize. Furthermore, the outcome assigns approaches of creating more intriguing, and easy memorable visualizations. Read more...