What if a plant could play the role of a billboard, conveying information to us about the health of the cities we live in?
I am currently exploring just this notion. By studying how changes in the environment can manipulate the health of a plant, I am attempting to use the appearance of the plant to convey information. Placed in a public space, such as a train station or shopping mall, passers by would, at a glance, see current air pollution levels by looking at whether the plant is wilted or healthy. Or, alternatively, they would see a mashup of data on bike share usage, traffic congestion and the weather forecast – if the plant were healthy, using the nearest city bike share would be a great idea, if it were wilted, taking the tram would be a better option.
To achieve this, I am using a computer to measure and control the environment around the plant. By feeding in data from internet sources, such as hourly air quality measurements from the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, I am manipulating the environment surrounding the plant, and thus its appearance.
Working out of Space Tank Studio in Melbourne, I am currently investigating the effect of watering cycles on the appearance of mint plants.
Get in touch with me if you’d like to know more about the project.