Monday, June 1, 2009
One of the surprise hits of the festival was the Talking Plant. It was amazing to see the pyschic shock and awe when people (of all ages) realized their behavior could affect a plant's internal life. I told them that plants have evolved successfully because they are responsive to their environment: light, water, heat, vibration. That activity can be measured in the small amounts of electricity it generates, picked up by the EEG sensor, mangled by the MaxMSP patch and made audible by triggering some of the 2000+ samples.
Some people danced, asked it questions (Are you a girl or a boy? What's your name? What's your favorite color? What's your favorite drink?), tickled, fondled, caressed, struck, blew, watered and communed with it.
It was interesting to me to see that normal people can accept the weirdest blips and vegetable booping noises if it is related to their actions and context, whereas sitting in a concert hall the same sounds would be eagerly rejected.
A video of these moments will be edited one day. In the meantime here are some stills.