Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Digital Network and Community Design with plants

June 15th, 2014 9 comments

Plant Colour Patterns

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.


Locomotion applied to plants for Public Spaces

June 15th, 2014 19 comments

plant locomotion

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”.


Visualizing techniques with plants for Interaction Design

June 2nd, 2014 20 comments

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...

Plants, Interfaces, and Art

May 31st, 2014 14 comments


After the introduction of botany, I will give an overview how plants are used for visualizing data, sensing interactions, enhancing communication between humans, and some other art oriented approaches. Each chapter references to a theoretical background and its practical implementations. The introduced projects have their origin in fine arts and in the research field of human computer interaction [Ross2007, SilentDialogue2008, Ars2010, HaLai2013, Ars2014]. Read more...

Categories: english, Plants Tags: , , ,


May 31st, 2014 5 comments


Humans use their knowledge about plants and their ecology for enhancing their life quality. Their accomplishments related to plant cultivation is associated to the botany discipline horticulture. That includes activities from the fields of science, technology, and business. Horticulture incorporates the tasks and services of food production, plant conservation, horticulture therapy, landscape restoration, landscape and garden design. All the human endeavours towards horticulture serve the goal of developing and maintaining human health and well-being.

Horticulture is strongly connected with gardening and should not be distinguished with agriculture. Agriculture is usually organized in large fields that grow only one plant species (mono culture). Furthermore, gardens are in most cases isolated from its environment. A common field is not protected by a fence or other construction. Moreover, agriculture makes heavy use of big machines for cultivating their plant growth and food production. The last and another important difference between horticulture and agriculture is the lack of an appealing design practice in agriculture [Nemitz2000, page 173]. Read more...


May 27th, 2014 21 comments

Plant Colour Patterns

The term Ethnobotany consists of the two words “ethno” and “botany”. The word “ethno” is attributed to people, culture, aesthetic, language, knowledge, and practice. Botany describes the study of plants. The combination of these words, the scientific discipline Ethnobotany, investigates the relationships between humans and plants.

Since the beginning of humananity, the human-beings depended on botanical knowledge for surviving [Flagler1994, page 4]. Ethnobotany documents and characterizes this gathered knowledge of plants in various cultures. The research fields include documentations about food, medicine, construction, textiles, rituals, art and others. The comprehensive scope of research topics assigns Ethnobotany to a classical multi-disciplinary study. The interdisciplinary team of scientists must have knowledge in botany for identification of plant species, anthropologic knowledge for describing the cultural scope, and a linguistic training for transferring the local terms to the scientific community.


Plant Ecology

May 18th, 2014 7 comments

Dead objects and living organisms are all involved in a physical environment. Nothing exist without an embedded context. The same rules apply to plants as well as for other things. In this chapter we will explore the ecologic conditions in which plants are embedded. Ecology is described as:


Categories: english, Plants Tags: , ,

Plant Physiology

May 18th, 2014 17 comments

Plant Colour Patterns

Over thousand and thousand years plants developed a complex sensory and regulatory system [Chamovitz2013, page 4]. Their inability of locomotion forced them to become masters in an adaptive development. Therefore, it is obvious to research plant functions in more detail. This chapter adopts the content structure from Daniel Chamovitz’s book “What a plant knows” [Chamovitz2013]. He compared the plant sensory system with the human system. In relation to Human Plant Interfaces this structure is very useful to present the most obvious differences between the human and the plant sensory system. The starting sections will explore the senses see, smell, touch and hear. Afterwards, the following sections will investigate the plant ability of orientation and memory. This summary mentions only the basics of plant physiology related to this thesis based artistic research. For more details about plant physiology, the book “Physiology and Behaviours of Plants” by Peter Scott (2008) is a very good recommendation and for a regular basis the Journal Plant Signaling & Behavior is highly recommended. Read more...

Categories: english, Plants Tags: , ,

Botany for Interface Design

May 18th, 2014 No comments

Plant Colour Patterns

The artistic research on Human Plant Interface involves a basic understanding of the living organism plants. Botany is the scientific discipline that studies and classifies plants and describes the mechanisms of plants as well as the cultural topics of plants related to humans and nature. Botany is a broad field and not every topic is relevant for Human Plant Interfaces.

This thesis focuses therefore only on a special kind of plant within the kingdom of green plants (Viridiplantae in Latin). This includes multicellular groups as flowering plants, conifers, ferns and mosses, which exist almost all over our environment. Generally spoken, plants have the basic body parts: roots, stems and leaves. Plants of the category green algae and fungi are neglected because of there complicated metabolism. This would go beyond the scope of this thesis.

From the viewpoint of botany the field is still big and for that reason, the following research on plants is focused on the most relevant topics: Plant physiology, plant ecology, ethnobotany and horticulture.

The chapter called physiology describes how a plant senses its environment. The structure of the chapter is based on the human senses, which reveals the similarities and differences between the human and plant perception. The basics of the plant sensor system are important for the following research in visualizing techniques and biosensing applications with plants.

The chapter on plant ecology introduces the interaction between a plant and its environment. Especially the interaction between various species is one important topic. The results are important for the following research on biosensing with plants and the application of locomotion towards plants.

Plants are a crucial element in human culture. The chapter about ethnobotany explores these aspects with a focus on contemporary art projects built with plants. The presented artistic activities hold a strong value for the whole research on Human Plant Interfaces.

The chapter horticulture will provide an introduction into gardening techniques as well as the social aspects of gardening. Both topics have a strong relationship with social design and art. For this reason, this chapter holds some background knowledge for the chapter “3.4. Digital Network and Community Design with plants” on page 85. Moreover, it refers to other artistic approaches like activism and visualizing techniques with plants.

Benefits of Human Plant Interfaces

May 18th, 2014 9 comments

Plant Colour Patterns

The beginning of the introduction mentioned the current ecological problems caused by humans. Some of these issues can be blamed directly on the inappropriate use of technology. The research on Human Plant Interfaces proposes interaction design solutions, which are more eco and human friendly. The exploration of these advantages is separated in the four parts design, urban development, production lifecycle, and social design.