For my final project I’d like to create an interaction where people interact with a plant in an unexpected way. One way I thought this could work was to have the plant turn to you as you spoke to it. Another idea that I thought could scaffold nicely with this one was a speech recognition poetry-generating AI. The final concept being a plant that you spoke to that intelligently manipulated human speech to create this other output, either as a print-out, or online.
I was inspired by Tega Brain’s talk on eccentric engineering, a way of thinking about building infrastructure “based on mutualism,” that considers all life, not just humans. Her installation Coin-Operated-Wetland was a self-contained system that I thought provoked many questions around this.
In considering how I could think about our coexistence with nature in a city where we’re quite alienated from it, I immediately thought of plants. We keep plants indoors and they form a sort of backdrop, but in fact there is anecdotal and scientific evidence that plants respond to people, communicate with each other, and have feelings.
One reason I’m excited about this idea is that there are a lot of potential elements to work out and compromise on. There is still a lot of room to explore different kinds of interaction, learn about plants, and add other elements to the project if there’s time:
- Rotating, presented in the above proposal but perhaps there are other ways the plant could react
- Recording (speech, photo)
- Found poetry/Surveillance poetry from recorded speech
- Website (what people said, poetry generated, the poetry the AI was trained on)
- Self-contained system powered by solar panels