Capturing botanical noise

AS IF residents will mic the plants. But not like this.

The Appalachian spring is characterized by ephemeral wildflowers, awakening of myriad little insects, and tree buds exploding in slow motion. Aaron Copeland wrote a beautiful symphonic piece to capture its charms. But what if the plants themselves make their own kind of music? How would we hear it? For the next four months, AS IF Residents Lisa Blackburn and Mark Boyd will be working on a project to explore just that.

As spring arrives and plant activity increases, Lisa and Mark will be using a variety of sensors to access imperceptible and barely-perceptible activity of natural elements including plants, insects, and weather. They will use the sensors and additional custom-built mechanical instruments to activate sound, light, and drawings derived from these inputs, and are also developing ideas for an on-site installation at AS IF Center. 

Their work will involve placing a small sticky pad (EEG monitor) to trees and other plants, for collecting minute electrical signals which they may convert to sound or visual information. They may also place small contact microphones on trees and other plants to capture sound information.

Can’t wait to hear what the plants have to say? Watch this site for stories and images (and maybe even sounds) as we follow the progress of this intriguing project.

Want to come for an art-science residency at AS IF Center? Application deadline for spring is February 15. Read more here.