Presence: Succulent, Foliage, Leafy Plants and House Plants

Over the last couple of days it has really come to my attention how much plants effect each other. It’s been really difficult programming the plants because some of them are so unpredictable and erratic. The data voltage coming in is fluctuating so much that it is actually really difficult to work with. I am constantly having to change threshold values because when someone else is in the room or if I move round to the other side of a plant the voltage values change so rapidly and to the extremes.

Although this is really annoying it is really interesting to see how they are responding to different people and the space they are in. If two people a touching two different plants then the plants will sound but when 2 person is touching two plants they will kind of battling against each other and sounds are really quiet. My theory here is that because of conduction a single person is creating a link.

This has also got me thinking about all the different types of plants in the room. The most difficult plant to work with is the dragon tree because it is fluctuating so much that a slight change in the room can set it off awol. I think this is mainly due to presence – a persons presence or happenings within a space is sending vibrations or energy or something that a plant can sense.

I think for the installation on the 22nd of January I will need to be really particular about what plants I am using. Last time, the Golden Dragon tree plant I bought for the previous iteration of the project was really docile and I had been working with the Dragon Tree that I have in uni. As I wasn’t really thinking about how each plant  is so different I can now really see that they definitely are. I think it is interesting to be able to see the data that I am getting in and making it relatable and anthropomorphising them with a particular mood. I had never really thought about my relationship with the plants that I have until now.

The succulents seem to be really easy to work with as they tend to respond to you more softly where as a more leafier green such as the coffee plant that I am using is more sensitive and will respond to you more like a theremin and can seem to sense your presence before you to touch it. The dragon tree house plant doesn’t seem to know what is going – it’s super erratic and very difficult to work with. He is the most challenging of them all. The readings from him fluctuate so much that I will likely need to replace him.


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