[ISEA2019] Artists Statement: Carlos Castellanos & Bello Bello — PlantConnect

Artists Statement

ISEA2019 Residency Programme. With the Asian Culture Institute and as ACT Showcase – ISEA2019 X Creators in Lab.

PlantConnect is a human-plant interaction system that combines the electro-physiological and photosynthetic activities of plants, the breathing of human interlocutors and the analytical abilities of intelligent computational systems to connect plant and human on a perceptual and physiological level. Part of larger investigations into alternative models for the creation of shared experiences and understanding with the natural world, the project explores complexity and emergent phenomena by harnessing the material agency of non-human organisms and the capacity of emerging technologies as mediums for information transmission, communication and interconnectedness between the human and non-human. The system measures the photosynthetic and bioelectrical activity from an array of plant microbial fuel cells (P-MFCs) and translates them into light and sound patterns using machine learning. Bioelectricity, light, sound, CO2, photosynthesis and computational intelligence form a circuit that enhances informational linkages between human, plant, bacteria and the physical environment, enabling a mode of interaction that is experienced not just as a technologically-enabled act of translation but as an embodied flow of information. In doing so, PlantConnect affords a novel experience of otherness, a heightened experience of otherwise mundane, unseen — but nevertheless vital — interdependent biological processes.

Video: PlantConnect

  • Carlos Castellanos (USA) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher with a wide array of interests such as cybernetics, ecology, embodiment, phenomenology, artificial intelligence and transdisciplinary collaboration. His work bridges science, technology, education and the arts, developing a network of creative interaction with living systems, the natural environment and emerging technologies. His artworks have been exhibited at local, national and international events such the International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA), SIGGRAPH & ZERO1 San Jose. Castellanos is Assistant Professor and director of the Digital/Experimental Media Lab in the Department of Art, Kansas State University.
  • Bello Bello (USA) is an interdisciplinary artist who creates custom electronics and software to enable participants to interact with plants and other lifeforms and serve as indicators of our current state of mind and collective unconsciousness. Bello received his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a concentration in Digital/Experimental Media from Kansas State University. He was part of group exhibitions at the Beach Museum of Art and Chapman Gallery. In addition, he has had solo exhibitions at various galleries. In 2018 he received Mark A. Chapman and Cheryl Mellenthin Fine Arts Scholarship and a residency with Parallel Studios as part of the 21st Century Community Learning