Plant Ensemble

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What is the knowledge of non-human life forms? How can this knowledge be accessed and mobilized in the climate crisis? These are profound questions, and ultimately they go beyond human cognition – and yet they can be approached in an experimental manner. For example: An amplified plant can be turned into a musical instrument. Biofeedback can generate music, and Xin Xin’s “Plant Ensemble” did just that. To harness the acoustic properties of a plant, the artist applied contact microphones and amplified their projection and tone, connecting arduino micro-controllers and speakers to plants. The resulting sound and video performance was staged on the second night of the Berliner Gazette’s 20th anniversary conference “More World.” Inspired by John Cage’s cactus instruments and MIDI Sprout, Xin Xin – using local plants she found at the ZK/U – made use of the electrical conductivity in plants to generate unexpected, randomized sound. The performance was recorded at the ZK/U on October 11, 2019, and can be listened to by pressing the play button above.

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