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»Interactive Plant Growing«
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© 1992, Christa SOMMERER & Laurent MIGNONNEAU

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Information
Cite
X
Archive of Digital Art (ADA). “(collective) Sommerer / Mignonneau - »Interactive Plant Growing«”. https://www.digitalartarchive.at/database/general/work/interactive-plant-growing.html (retrieved 2009-22-07). @online{ADAartistprofile, author = {Archive of Digital Art (ADA)}, title = {(collective) Sommerer / Mignonneau - »Interactive Plant Growing«}, url = {https://www.digitalartarchive.at/database/general/work/interactive-plant-growing.html}, urldate = {retrieved 2009-22-07}
Technology
Display
Projector: Model: SONY, Electrohome or Barco.
Hardware
1 Computer Silicon Graphics
Installation Requirements / Space
Height:
Installation Requirements / Space
the colums have no ground plates, cable trays are runing from colum to colum. The minimun distance between the column is 90 cm.
Software
Operating Sytem CDROM,
Descriptions & Essays
"Interactive Plant Growing" is an installation, which deals with the principle of the growth of virtual plant organisms and their change and modification in real time in the 3-dimensional virtual space of a 4D Graphics Computer (Silicon Graphics). These modifications of predefined "artificially living plant organisms" are mainly based on the principle of development and evolution in time. The artificial growing of program - based plants is an expression of the desire to discover the principle of life, which is always defined by the transformations and morphogenesis of certain organisms. Interactive Plant Growing connects the real time growing of virtual plants in the 3 - dimensional space of the computer to real living plants, which can be touched or approached by human viewers.differentiation. By touching real plants or moving their hands towards them human viewers can influence and control in real time the virtual growth of 25 and more program - based plants, which are simultaneously displayed on a video screen in front of the viewers. By producing a sensitive interaction with the real plants, the viewers too become part of the installation. They decide how this interaction is translated to the screen and how growth takes place on the screen. The various distance modulations of the viewer´s hands directly effect the appearance of the virtual plants, as they are ferns, mosses, trees, vines and a cleaning plant ("killer plant"). By sending different data values to the interface (which connects the plants and the growing program), the appearance of the virtual plants can be modified and varied . The viewers can control the size of the virtual plants, direct the rotation, modify the appearance, change the colours and control new positions for the same type of plant. Each virtual plant species has at least 6 different variations, but generally there are more possibilities than just 25 variations of 5 plants, since the size, colour and translation can be modified for each single plant as well. All variations ultimately depend on the viewers sensibility to find the different levels of approximation distances, as they are responsible for the different events in growing. Since it takes some time for the viewer to discover the different levels for modulating and building the virtual plants, he will develop a higher sensitivity and awareness for real plants. (Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau)
Christa Sommerer 13-11-2020
Interactive Plant Growing Concept

Conceptual and aesthetic aspects :

"The rate of growth deserves to be studied as a necessary preliminary to the theoretical study of form, and organic form itself is found, mathematically speaking, to be a function of time. (....) We might call the form of an organism an event in space-time, and not merely a configuration in space." (D´Arcy Thompson,On Growth and Form, Cambridge University Press,1942.)

"Interactive Plant Growing" is an installation, which deals with the principle of the growth of virtual plant organisms and their change and modification in real time in the 3-dimensional virtual space of a computer. These modifications of predefined "artificially living plant organisms" are mainly based on the principle of development and evolution in time. The artificial growing of program - based plants is an expression of the desire to discover the principle of life, which is always defined by the transformations and morphogenesis of certain organisms.

Interactive Plant Growing connects the real time growing of virtual plants in the tridimensional space of the computer to real living plants, which can be touched or approached by human viewers.differentiation.

1) Interaction Human - Plant :

By touching real plants or moving their hands towards them human viewers can influence and control in real time the virtual growth of 25 and more program - based plants, which are simultaneously displayed on a video screen in front of the viewers. By producing a sensitive interaction with the real plants, the viewers too become part of the installation. They decide how this interaction is translated to the screen and how growth takes place on the screen.

The various distance modulations of the viewer´s hands directly effect the appearance of the virtual plants, as they are ferns, mosses, trees, vines and a cleaning plant ("killer plant").

By sending different data values to the interface (which connects the plants and the growing program), the appearance of the virtual plants can be modified and varied . The viewers can control the size of the virtual plants, direct the rotation, modify the appearance, change the colours and control new positions for the same type of plant.

Each virtual plant species has at least 6 different variations, but generally there are more possibilities than just 25 variations of 5 plants, since the size, colour and translation can be modified for each single plant as well.

All variations ultimately depend on the viewers sensibility to find the different levels of approximation distances, as they are responsible for the different events in growing.

Since it takes some time for the viewer to discover the different levels for modulating and building the virtual plants, he will develop a higher sensitivity and awareness for real plants.

2) Programming :

In Interactive Plant Growing artificial plants, programmed by Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer on Silicon Graphics Computer, grow in a virtual 3 - dimensional space.

This virtual growing is based on specially developed algorithms, according to the different morphological characteristics of real plant differentiation.

Virtual growing is not based on the same principles as real growing, rather the appearance of movement and differentiation and determination during this evolutionary process can be considered to be optically similar.

In the program a new method of differentiation was developed, using special randomising parameters, which are seen as "artificial growth and differentiation regulators".

These randomising parameters determine the morphology of the organisms by controlling their variations of forms.

This leads us to different botanical growth forms. Plants like ferns, vine or mosses change their appearance depending on the randomising defined variables for size, length, rotation, translation, angle and colour.

This idea of advanced randomising could be compared with the term "walking randomising".

The limits of randomising could be considered as determination, whereas the human - plant randomising itself can be representative for the differentiation.

3 ) Technique :

Technically speaking, the electrical potential difference between human and plant gets measured through the living plants.

This voltage difference varies depending on the hand - plant distance, the sensitivity of the plant ranges from 0 to about 70 cm in space, depending on the size and morphology of the real plant.

A special protocol (interface program) between computer and converter makes sure, that each data value coming from each plant is interpreted in synchronisation and in real time by means of the growing program during the drawing of the virtual plants.

All data values (derived from the interaction viewer - plant) are now interpreted as variables in the growing program. Each value is responsible for specific growing events; changing rotation, scaling, translation, location or colour.

4 ) Installation space :

In the dark 12 x 6 meter installation space, five different real plants are placed on 5 wooden columns in front of a high resolution 4 x 3 meter video projection screen. All plants are connected by an interface to a 4D Silicon Graphics computer, which sends its video signals from the screen to a high resolution RGB video data beamer 80 kHz , 650 Lux. This data beamer sends the growing pictures to the projection screen in real time.

5 ) Feedback :

By the feedback of the virtual growth on the screen, the viewers can react to these events and control and modify the growing process. Five or more people can interact at the same time with the 5 real plants in the installation space. All events depend exclusively on the human-plant interaction.

"Interactive Plant Growing" ©1992, Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau
Christa Sommerer: Interactive Plant Growing, 13-11-2020, in: Archive of Digital Art
Oliver Grau 07-10-2014
Interactive Plant Growing visualizes principles of evolution, growth, and random mutation. In a darkened room measuring 12 x 6 m, the visitors face a screen of approximately 4 x 3 m. There are five wooden stands in front of the screen, each with a different potted plant – a fern, a vine, moss, a sapling, and a cactus. This combination of plants does not exist in nature; it is a manifestly artificial, artistic order like the one shown in the Roman frescoes of the Villa Livia. When visitors touch one of the real plants, which are wired to a Silicon Graphics workstation, they activate graphic representations of more than 25 programmed types of plants. The system is capable of registering the varying voltage of the plant at a distance of 0 to 70 cm. This was the revolutionary principle of Interactive Plant Growing: to trigger computer images by touching a plant – a natural interface. Visitors watch as the colorful, screen-high, virtual plants grow on the screen in real time. The intensity of touch, the electrical potential difference of the user, is registered by the plant and relayed to the computer, which directs the growth of the virtual plants on the screen. Sommerer and Mignonneau developed special algorithms to determine the variables of size, color, morphology, and growth characteristics, which are also very flexible and allow virtual plant growth that is not predetermined. Five or more visitors at a time can interact with the virtual vegetation until at some point, a “killer cactus” wipes out the plant population and a completely new and different artificial nature starts to grow again. – Virtual art: from illusion to immersion, 2003, pp. 298-299.
Oliver Grau: Interactive Plant Growing, 07-10-2014, in: Archive of Digital Art
Literature
Grau, Oliver. Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Ars Electronica - Facing the Future, edited by , 393-394. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« edited by F. Magalhães and Diana Domingues, 43. Porto Alegre, Brazil: 1999.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Media Time: WOOD and BYTE: Festival delle nuove tecnologie mulitmediali, edited by M. G. Mattei, 56-61. Bolzano, IT: Centro Audiovisivi, Bolzano, 1999.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In VIDÉOFORMES 98. Culture Contemporaine Arts Video, Nouvelles Technologies, edited by G. Soucheyre, 10-13. Clermont Ferrand: Turbulences Vidéo, 1998.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Arte Virtual - Realidad Plural, edited by Karin Ohlenschläger. Monterrey, Mexico: Museo de Monterrey, 1997.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Electra’96, edited by A. Esperø. Oslo, Norway: Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, 1996.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Ciberfestival 96: imagens do futuro, edited by L. Da Costa and M. Do Rosário. Lisbon, Portugal: Forum Telecom, 1996.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Images du Futur – L’art interactif, edited by M. Ginette and Hervé Fischer, 30-31. Montreal, Canada: 1995.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Lab 5: International Film, Video and Computer Art Exhibition 1995, edited by Ryszard Kluszczynski. Warsaw: 1995.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In ArsLab-I Sensi del Virtuale, edited by . Turin, IT: 1995.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing and A-Volve.« In The Interaction ´95, edited by Itsuo Sakane. Gifu: IAMAS Academy and Softopia, 1995.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing and A-Volve.« In Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, edited by M. Kusahara. Tokyo, Japan: ICC InterCommunication Center, NTT, 1994.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Arte Virtual - Doce propuestas de Arte Reactivo, edited by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Madrid: Electa Edition, 1994.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« ICC InterCommunication Journal, Japan , no. 7 (January 1994).
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Ars Electronica 1993 - Genetische Kunst - Künstlisches Leben / Genetic Art - Artificial Life, edited by Karl Gerbel and Peter Weibel, 408-414. Vienna: PVS Verleger, 1993.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In interActiva –Internationales Festival für Interaktive Medien, edited by Andrea Zapp. Köln, DE: 1993.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In FISEA Fourth International Symposium on Electronic Art, edited by Päivi; Huhtamo Talasmaa. Minneapolis, USA: ISEA Publications, 1993.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« In Siggraph ´93 Visual Proceedings, edited by , 164-165. New York: ACM, 1993.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »Interactive Plant Growing.« ICC InterCommunication Journal , no. 6 (October 1993).
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