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.
I was also inspired by chatbot and poetry AI projects.
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