Tomash Ghzegovsky performed in this festival, creating a dream-like ambience for his audience, moving us into the inner world of plants through sound, a very unique performance in my opinion. I wanted to know more about the technology behind his artistic experiment so I went ahead and asked him a couple of questions:
Q: What was the technology you used?
Q: How did you come up with the idea?
A: I wanted to show the interaction between plants and humans and their ability to sense the environment in more complex ways than we are aware of.
Q: Was there a specific reason for choosing Aloe Vera?
A: Aloe Vera were just the most available plants with a good leaf area for the electrodes.
Then I showed him a Kickstarter project of similar nature called Mogees – Play the World by Bruno Zamborlin. He found the use of rhythmic processing interesting explaining how it is using only a microphone that detects capacitance, (the contact mic and capacitive sensor techniques are two different ) so it processes the audio signal and uses it as a trigger only if you’re touching it or not, it can’t really read what the plant is «feeling». Thus, the main difference to his sensors is that «the sensors I use analyze the biological preocesses going on inside the plant, the exact same processes that are used in the lie detector».
Q: Engineering-wise, what is it in your sensors that avails this function?
A: Basically what I did was measure the voltage difference between two parts of the plant, and analyze the frequency that it’s changing at. Those are very very small voltage differences in magnitude of micro-volts. Those are basically affected by the chemical reactions inside the plant, also believed to be the communication between parts of the plant.
Q: And neighboring plants possibly, did you explore that too?
A: Yes, you can use big trees, or even chain them together. See this video Meet the Sonic Artist Making Music with Plants: Sound Builders, it’s quite similar technique, but I used my small synthesizer boards to generate sounds for each plant instead of using a computed, so each plant was independent.
Tomash is member of Several Reasons Recordings and plays at Klubd in Nicosia. VoidPoint Exception is his Soundcloud channel.
Polymnia Tsinti – Mediazone TV & Audio Lab Assistant