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ABOUT

Plants are often not the first thing that comes to mind in the discussion of technology and cyborgism; these themes are often discussed with an anthropocentric focus, especially in the fields of healthcare and visions about Artificial Intelligence (AI).


But have you thought about how many plants surround us every day?


BOT-ANY is a speculative exhibition and social commentary of a certain hypothetical future where the pervasiveness of plants are exploited for the assimilation of ‘cyborg plants’ into our everyday living environments, embracing the duality of two seeming opposing themes of ‘Nature’ and ‘Technology’.
 

BOT-ANY draws inspiration from Harpreet Sapreen’s (MIT) research paper “Cyborg Botany: Augmented Plants as Sensors, Displays and Actuators“ where the concept of ‘Cyborg Plants’ are discussed as sub-categories such as phytosensors/actuators, organic infographics, soft-robotic locomotion and artificial arbortecture.
 

You are invited to think critically about the connections between nature and technology, the point of junctures where they merge, and how a hybrid of the two create new connections that can extend into other contexts even as overlooked as the common living space.

About
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FLOORPLAN

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01. Plantae Symphonia

Create your own doorbell tunes with plants acting as phytosensors in an orchestral arrangement!

02. Tell Me the Thyme

Witness how plants respond to different humidity levels and work as a real-time organic infographic.

03. Aqua - Terrarium

We have seen plants that on wheels, we have seen plants that fly; but have we seen plants that swim?

04. Unbeweavable Room

Weaved tree structures inspired by FloraRobotica bring interior design to a new level.

Floorplan

WORKS

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Phytosensors and Actuators


The Plantae Symphonia installation features ‘cyborg plants’ which function as phytosensors and activators and serve as a re-imagined organic doorbell. Plants are great at adapting and are natures’ ideal sensors which can produce different types of responses known as ‘tropisms’. Some examples include phototropism (response to light), hydrotopism (response to water) and thigmotropism (response to direct contact or touch).  The setup involves surface contact electrodes or metal electrodes inserted into the stems and leaves of he plant. Silver chloride electrodes are prepared by bleaching silver wires. To help in measuring extracellular potential in plants or converting electrical to bioelectrochemical potential.The weak signals are then amplified using an instrumentation amplifier with a high input impedance. Each plant in this installation has been programmed to recreate sounds of different orchestral instruments. Create your own doorbell tunes with plants acting as phytosensors in an orchestral arrangement!

Works
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Organic Infographics
 

Data is often represented in abstract diagrammatic formats such as graphs or bar charts. However, Tell Me the Thyme explores the concept of plants as an infographic medium. The concentration and colour saturation of plants distributed across a radial plane is controlled using humidity, such that the hands of a clock emerges. This concept is adopted and adapted from Mossxels  (2014) by Takaki Kimura and Yasuaki Kakehi. The higher the humidity, the higher the chlorophyll concentration in the leaves of the plant and thus a greener appearance is produced. Real time information is fed to the system, and resulting in the organic clock showing the actual time of the day at any given point of time. Tell Me the Thyme offers an alternative form of a clock in a living space that will definitely start conversations.

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Enhanced Locomotion


Aqua-Terrarium features robotic mechanisms resembing fish, known as Bubbles, that are purely locomotive mechanisms equipped to the aquatic plants. Electrodes attached on the plants help to detect changes in electrochemical signals of the plants themselves and uses them to transport the plants to nearest light source. Bubbles carry aquatic plants around the confines of the aquatic tank and help the plants to get as much sunlight as possible at all times. Bubbles are designed to appear as amiable creatures which fit well into the warmth of a living space. The concept of enhanced locomotion is inspired by similar projects such as Vincross’s HEXA robot which maneuvers plants with its spider-like appendages, The Dream of Flying (2013) by Chiara Esposito which saw to a plant which was able to fly with the help of a drone and MIT’s Elowan, which is a houseplant equipped with wheels.

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Automated Arbortecture


‘Arbortecture’ is an abbreviation of ‘arboreal’ and ‘architecture’, and is often used to describe the practice of intentionally growing and shaping plants as a living medium into structures. Many artists have used living trees and other plants as media for structures and art, otherwise known as tree shaping. They employ techniques like framing, pruning and grafting to possibly form structures like archs or chairs. These braided structures from FloraRobotica are scaffolding structures with flexible wires inside that exploit the morphogenetic plasticity of plants to orient themselves to gather optimal energy (tropisms). The natural plant, in turn, supports and controls the robotic plant by guiding it through growth (e.g., towards light) and supporting the weight of the robot in later growth phases. Each robotic plant connects wirelessly to the Internet and the structure of the scaffolding is determined by the growth of the plants. In the Unbeweavable Room, these scaffolded plants are also fitted with lights that help to illuminate the room and serve as both a decorative and functioning piece of furniture.

GALLERY

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Gallery

CREDITS

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Credits

DIRECTORY

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VENUE

ADM Gallery 2
School of Art, Design and Media
Nanyang Technological University
81 Nanyang Drive
Singapore 637458

OPENING HOURS

Monday to Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 12pm – 5pm
Closed on Sundays, Public Holidays
and term breaks

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