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Plants, Interfaces, and Art


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].

The chapter “Visualizing techniques with plants” investigates how plants are utilized for data sculptures in public and private environments. Furthermore, the analysis reveals which kind of data can be visualized and which characteristics the plant holds.

In an interactive context, the first chapter explores the plant’s possibilities of an actuator. The second chapter “Biosensing for Human Computer Interactions“ examines plants as a sensor. The research results offer a collection of available interactions related to human computer interaction. The technical implementations are described in more detail and connected to their possible interactions.

The chapter “Locomotion applied to plants” explores how artist and designer overcome the plant inability of locomotion. Their results enhance communication between humans and machines.

Communication between humans is the main topic of the chapter “Digital Network and Community Design with plants”. It describes how garden communities and other network structures can be extended through the help of plants. Biosensing and plant displays are some of the used tools in the mentioned projects.

The chapter “Experimental expressions with relations to plants” provides an insight how plants inspire other technology disciplines. Projects of wearable technology, computer vision technology, robot technology and biotechnology are introduced and present suggestions beyond classical Human Plant Interfaces.


[Ross2007] Ross, Philip (2007). BioTechnique. Exhibition catalogue, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 2007.

[SilentDialogue2008] Dogane, Yuji; Dunn, David David Dunn (2008). Silent Dialogue. Exhibition catalogue, NTT Publishing, 2008.

[Ars2010] Stocker, Gerfried; Schöpf, Christine (2009). Ars Electronica 2009 – Human Nature. Exhibition catalogue, Hatje Cantz, 2010.

[HaLai2013] Haapoja, Terike; Laitinen, Antti (2013). Falling Trees. Exhibition catalogue, 55 International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, 2013.

[Ars2014] Leopoldseder, Hannes; Schöpf, Christine; Stocker, Gerfried (2013). Ars Electronica 2013 - Total Recall: The Evolution of Memory. Exhibition catalogue, Hatje Cantz, 2014.

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  1. admin
    September 12th, 2014 at 08:35 | #1

    The exhibition Biodesign – On the Cross Pollination of Nature, Science and Creativity in Rotterdam on September 27, 2013 until January 26, 2014 at The New Institute explored plants as a material for designing and shaping our environments.

    The exhibition catalogue is available as a book:
    [Myers2012] Myers, William (2012). BioDesign: Nature + Science + Creativity. Thames & Hudson, 2012.

  2. admin
    September 12th, 2014 at 08:42 | #2

    The exhibition Alive: New design frontiers during 26 april – 1 september 2013 at the Espace Fondation EDF in Paris focused on reshaping our world by re- orchestrating our relationship to nature. It presents works in relation to architecture, product design and bio art on a cellular level and sculptural level.

  3. admin
    September 12th, 2014 at 08:52 | #3

    The exhibition Trans-Farm organized by Yvette Granata in Detroit between the September 13 – October 11, 2014 explores the intersection of art, agriculture, and contemporary city life. Furthermore the Trans-Farm exhibition engages with the world’s largest urban farming project to create and exhibit interdisciplinary urban agricultural works that blend the lines between edible, practical, artistic, and the technological.

  4. November 21st, 2014 at 17:44 | #4

    The exhibition Alter Nature: We can was curated by Karen Verschooren and accesible from 21.11.2010 to 13.03.2011 at Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium. The exhibitions deals with the topic how humans perceive, adapt and change natural organisms (in particular plants).

  5. June 9th, 2015 at 11:31 | #5

    In terms of plant and art the The Gladstone Hotel’s 3rd annual Grow Op: The Culture of Landscape exhibition hold from April 23 to 26, 2015 in Toronto also exhibits some very interesting artworks. The multidisciplinary approach of this exhibition encourages new forms of perspectives and dialogues towards plants and our environment.

  6. September 14th, 2015 at 21:52 | #6

    From 3rd – 9th August 2015 the summer hackercamp PIFcamp took place in Trenta, Slovenia. One of the activities was dedicated to exploring the interesection of nature and technology, which is partly related to the research on Human Plant Interfaces (see some workshops by DiY bio-hacker Marc Dusseiller.

  7. September 14th, 2015 at 22:08 | #7

    The Slovenian 24th Biennal of Design BIO 50 from 18.9-7.12.2014 in Ljubljana had two interesting themes related to art with plants. For instance, the theme Designing Life introduced the Plant Sex Consultancy by Dimitrios Stamatis, Špela Petrič, Pei-Ying Lin, Jasmina Weiss. The other theme Knowing Food dealt with gardening, food and plants.

  8. September 14th, 2015 at 22:18 | #8

    The empyre art mailing list discusses every month one topic. In June 2015 they discussed about Plants and Interfaces. The discussion is archived and hold some very deep information about the topic of plant interfaces.

  9. September 27th, 2015 at 20:38 | #9

    Lately, the AND Festival in the Grizedale Forest from Fri 18 – Sun 20 September 2015 hosted a very interesting exhibtion Seeing the Forest Through the Trees with strong relations to Plant Art. Monika Bakke curated and organized this very interesting group show.

  10. July 1st, 2016 at 13:42 | #10

    Interesting workshop format by Co-lab × OpenPlant at @ Cambridge & Norwich on Upcoming events : 8-10 July / 11-13 July / 23-25 Sept 2016

    The 5th Edition of Co-Lab’s interdisciplinary workshop Co-Lab OpenPlant

    What is the future of plant research? Can we rethink how we eat, harvest and interact with plants? What if we can generate electricity from our garden? What if each household had its own algae bioreactor? How can GM crops be utilised other than for food consumption? Co-lab open plant series has the objective to create new research ideas around plant synthetic biology and fostering further collaborations by establishing links between designers, artists, and scientists. We will hold our workshop at University of Cambridge and John Innes Centre – both important institutions contributing to the development of plant science & synthetic biology.

    #SyntheticBiology #Ethnography #Art #Design #Research #GMO #Electricity #Food #Plant #BioHack #BioDesign #BioArt #interdiciplinary

  11. Mike
  12. admin
    September 15th, 2016 at 11:38 | #12

    Another interesting event regarding Human Plant Interfaces

    TALK TO ME Human-Plant Communication Performance and Exhibition by RIXC Artists Smite & Smits

    Venue: The National Library of Latvia in Riga
    Exhibition Dates: August 29 – September 10, 2016
    Performance: September 10, 2016, from 18.00 until 01.00


  13. October 21st, 2016 at 21:03 | #13

    This year of the Pixelache Festival (2016) in Helsinki had a really nice theme: Interfaces for Empathy

    Main topic of this festival was around another form of anthropocentrism. The objective was to create better empathetic consciousness towards the whole ecosystem. Humans play only a small role of it. Discussions were about if empathy could be one of the key elements in reconnecting us with our ecosystem and ourselves. Which is also a part of defensive design thinking.

  14. admin
    October 29th, 2016 at 21:08 | #14

    Amsterdam has at the moment a really interesting exhibiton regarding technology, plants and eco-systems on-going:

    REGENERATION – exhibition – talks – workshops

    30 September 2016 – 28 April 2017

    Location: Transnatural Workspace & Dutch Design Week

    Regeneration explores the possibilities of regenerating our current, man-damaged ecosystems. The exhibition will show a variety of projects by artists and designers who deal with issues involved with this ecological regeneration and, simultaneously, they investigate newly possible resources derived from these regenerated ecosystems. A side program that consists of talks, demonstrations and workshops accompanies the exhibition. Regeneration opens on Friday 30 September in the Transnatural gallery in Amsterdam and will travel to Eindhoven for the Dutch Design Week in October.

  15. July 9th, 2017 at 13:56 | #15

    The symposium AICAD 2015 has some very interesting topics for plant art and interaction.

    Field BioArt: Integrating Studies of Art, Biology and Nature

  16. November 13th, 2017 at 14:06 | #16

    The exhibition and conference Piksel 17 in Bergen (Norway) from November, 16-18th, 2017 holds some interesting artworks related to plant interfaces. Mostly, plant sensing installations and computed visions of plants are presented there.

    http://17.piksel.no/?p=62 Rizosfera FM (plant sensing)
    http://17.piksel.no/?p=84 Virtual Plant – Mathematical DNA of the plant

    Another very interesting event, conference and hacking camp is the Digital Naturalism Conference. It adresses Biologists, Botanic scientiest, Interaction Designer, Artist and others. It will take place in Thailand around May 26- July 8, 2018. Application Deadline is January, 30th


  1. May 31st, 2014 at 15:17 | #1
  2. May 31st, 2014 at 15:18 | #2
  3. May 31st, 2014 at 15:19 | #3
  4. August 8th, 2014 at 13:24 | #4