Plants – still, slow and quiet – are often disregarded as living organisms capable of making fast decisions, possessing qualities considered as behaviours or intelligence; or having any feelings. Treated merely a decoration and backdrop they are left alone in their slowness, while we keep deciding what to do with them. We cut them to have more space for our own developments or plant them to excess for a food, not ever thinking how much our lives have depended on them since we – animals – came to the existence on this planet. But plants in reality are very busy and vibrant working very hard for their and our benefits.
In World Wilder Lab we try to look at plants as autonomous (albeit organised) beings, in their own way creative to solve problems that life presents. “Plandscapes” is a new project giving prominence to a plant as a creative force behind the artworks. Every so often we select a plant based on its qualities and way of interacting with its environment (i.e. sensitivity to salt in soil, or heavy metals in air).
We then hook it up with our PlanEt device and stream the signals from inside a plant through the generative piece of code. Those signals – that is plants reactions to environment and thus its decisions how to deal/adapt to it – are the basis for a drawing – a visualisation. What is in the drawing is thus dictated by a plant – the main artist in this installation, together with its decision what shall be printed and exhibited and what shall be disregarded. Each single drawing is unique and printed as only 1 copy. Different plants might display different properties and so we wonder whether we can build something like plants artists identities and styles.
We have launched this project with the exhibition in Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg, where Fatsia Japonica was a main creator.