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Other Intelligences. Plant-Human Interspecies Dialogues


Other intelligences is an artistic research that aims to explore the communication between plants remotely  by using AI tools. Through this project we seek to know more about the plants’ language and behavior and try to understand a better these living beings with we co-habit in the Earth.

This is a processual work in which we have created a neuronal plant network connected to the Internet, composed of plants located in different places around the world. At the same time, each of this living beings is being monitored through the recording of electrophysiology data and environmental data of their surrounding; thanks to environmental sensors that allow us to measure and link the changes in the surrounding of the plant with their behavior.

Several scientific studies have demonstrated that plants have chemical processes that have similar features with the process that take place in the nervous system of animals, thus plants have capacities like memory and therefore they can learn about their environment. Based on plant intelligence and their capacity of learn we created or neuronal plant network. We designed an algorithm makes possible the remotely communication between plants through the training and learning to different stimuli.

In this way we investigate, about the recognition of patterns by the plant, which allows it to identify with which plant of the network they are communicating and thus allow two way dialogue. To do that we have provided each of the plants with tools that allows them sending and receiving signals of light, sound and movement. The entire communication process is being recorded, to be analyzed afterwards with an Artificial Intelligence , in order to recognize patterns that humans cannot perceive with the naked eye.

Through the use of technology as a tool, we have created a network of plants connected to the Internet. A network analogous to the network of roots and mycelia of fungi that take place in the forest that the Professor of Forest Ecology Suzanne Simard began to study almost three decades ago. This woods’ network allows trees and plants to communicate with each other by sharing information and nutrients. In Other Intelligences, our network, is made up of data, algorithms and actuators, and it allows us to investigate alternative relationships with nature and technology through the use of artistic methodologies.     

All species on earth are linked by symbiotic and interdependent relationships; the project proposes an innovative point of view on the transformation processes that are shaping the collaboration between species, ecosystems and technologies. To know more about the language and behavior of plants will allow us to learn more about nature and thus better understand our environment.



A sensor developed by ourselves called Clorofila 3.0 is included in the device, to allow us to measure electrical oscillations that occur in plants. We realized that this oscillations deepens of the surrounding of the plant, like changes in light, temperature, sound, atmospheric pressure, etc. We have been used this sensor in our previos artworks like Symbiotic Interaction (2017), The Plants Sense (2018) or Beyond Human Perception (2020). You can se a demonstration of the sensor in this link. However this is the first time we placed  environmental sensors next to Clorofila 3.0 sensor,  in order to allow us to link and compare both data, to try to figure out what is affected to the plant. Furthermore all the data is sensing and recording to the internet, which allow us to analyze it afterwards.

Clorofila 3.0 sensor and environmental sensors are placed in the 3d printed holders designed and created specifically to this project. Also three kind of actuators allow the plants to send signals each others remotely:

Technical description of sensors and actuators placed in the device.

Plants and data

Monstera connected to the network of plants from Oslo. Norway

According to our experience working with plants, we choose just this three kind of plants, that we consider reactives to the environment.  We asked all the people who join to the experiment to host on of this plants at home:

We have now 25 plants connected in total, in Norway, Spain, Mexico, Belgium, Uk and Denmark.

We also created  an instructions with some easy steps to connect the sensor to the plant and to the internet in order to share all the data in real time.
However every plant need to be settings, due each one are different. We did it remotely through a control panel we developed for that.
Control panel to change the settings of each sensor, for internal work.
Once the plant is connected to the internet and the settings ready, we starts to recording the data.
We also can follow the live data, or visualize the data by choosing one day and comparing the electrical activity from the plant to the environmental data.
Control panel for internal work to see live data of the plant and their environment.
Control panel for internal work to see all the data in one day.

Communication between plants

The first idea we have to establish the communication between plants was to use artificial Intelligence. However we realized that  plants  are living beings and they can learn. So we created our own algorithm to make ir possible and create a network of plants.

The first thing we do was to create four groups of plants. Then, we used the following methodology:

  1. When something happen in the electrical activity of the  plant, a vibration is  activated in the pot of the plant to alert itself. To say  "Hey! Something is happening here!"
  2. The plant send a signal in form of light or movement to another plant of the group. to say:  "hello! I am here. Something is happening with me.”
  3. The frequency and sort of signal that is sent,   depends of the reaction of the first plant. It means   that usually the same plants is sending the same  kind of signals

In other words, if you can observe  your plant at home, receiving signals from others; lights, movements. According to the frequency of this lights, how they blinking for how the motors are moved, you can figure out which plant is sending signals.

Now we are working in the use of an Artificial Intelligence in order to detects patterns that we as humans cannot detect between the plants communication


Data visualization and final artwork
Now, in the last phase of this processual research, we are working in the visualization of the plants communication, the programmation of the AI and the final artwork display. Meanwhile the network of plants is running and evolve everyday. At the beggining, some weeks agoe all the communication were very caahotic. As the days went by, we expect a more stable communication, wich means that plants are learnig how to communicate each other.

Worrk exhibited at:
Other intelligences. Methodology and process in remotely communication between plants. Galleri 69. Oslo. Noruega. 2022

Work in progress project website:
Developed in the framework of FeLT Project. OsloMet
Work produced with the support of a 2020 Leonardo Grant for Researchers and Cultural Creators, BBVA Foundation.
The Foundation takes no responsibility for the opinions, statements and contents of this project, which are entirely the responsibility of its authors.

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María Castellanos

María Castellanos is an artist and researcher . Her artistic practice focuses primarily on the research about human sensory boundaries and the creation of complex systems that promote the communication and the understanding between humans and non human beings. Currently she is postdoctoral researcher at Oslo Metropolitan University, in the framework of FeLT –Futures of Living Technologies–

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