Plant Sounds

Plant Sounds (2015) is an interactive sound installation by Thomas V. Christie, a composer, sound installation artist and multi instrumentalist based in Montreal. Electronics done by Marc-Alexandre Chan and Thomas V. Christie.  FARR Residency Project


“Plant Sounds is a navigation and investigation of the interior dialogue of a plant. By translating the electrical micro-voltage fluctuations generated by flora, the signals can be used in the production of a soundscape. This soundscape is the direct outcome of the plant’s functioning, unique to it’s circumstance and external stimulus, as interpreted by a custom-made electronic instrument.
The viewer should be able to directly interact with the plant through physical touch and vicariously affect the produced soundscape. These fluctuations are processed and sonified through a computer-based program to create complex and unusual sonorities. In effect, the viewer is confronted with the awareness of a plant by the conjured auditory responses. The plant would no longer seem docile and silent to our presence, allowing us a glimpse into it’s inner-workings.”

This is pretty much what I wanted to do! I knew that these this had already been done but my thinking is how can it be taken further. Plants respond to changes in its environment. This includes humidity, temperature, light, and touch. In this installation the plant has an Ag/AgCl electrode


Plant emit micro-voltages so the voltage needs to be amplified. Just like the MIDI Sprout the micro-voltages are detected by an electrode and then amplified.  For this project, Sound Plant, the micro-voltages of the plant are detected by Ag/AgCl electrodes (a sliver chloride electrode). In the video they call it a biosensor – but I’m not sure if that is a different thing… So I need to find this out.

I assume this is done by the use of voltage amplifier and then is ‘sent into an Arduino to be digitized. The numeric values are sent to oscillators, resulting in the soundscape.’


This is a comment from the video that I think is really quite relevant to today’s environment. Can we use this method of recording/listening to plants just as we do archive and record soundscapes?

“This plant has been recorded inside of a superficial and enclosed area (indoor?) and making these sounds results … I wonder how the sounds results would be if the plant was record outdoor in a middle of a forest for example ?… it would be interesting to discover another variations of sounds that the plant would emit. Thanks for this video!”



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