[ISEA2022] Artist Talk: María Castellanos Vicente — Other Intelligences. Plant-Human Interspecies Dialogues

Artist Statement 

June 12, MACBA – Convent dels Àngels. Session: Experiencing the Anthropocene. A Transdisciplinary Journey Through Earth

Keywords: Interspecies communication, Artificial Intelligence, sympoiesis

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.

Based on plant intelligence and their capacity of learn we created a neuronal plant network connected to the Internet, composed of plants located in different places around the world. We designed an algorithm makes possible the remotely communication between plants through the training and learning to different stimuli.

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.

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.

  • María Castellanos Vicente (ES) is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway), in the framework of FeLT – Futures of Living Technologies. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Doctorate from the University of Vigo (ES), with an Extraordinary Phd Award 2016. Her dissertation entitled “The bionic skin. Technological Membranes as Body Interfaces in Artistic Practice” focuses on the hybridizations between cyborgs and wearables as a paradigm of extending human sensorial capabilities. 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. Her work was exhibited at venues such as Ars Electronica(AT), LABoral (SP) , Athens Digital Arts Festival (GR), Onassis Stegi (GR), HeK (CH), La Gâite Lyrique (FR), DRIVE Volskwagen (DE), Matadero Madrid (SP), Bozar Electronic Art Festival (BE), Arts Santa Mónica (SP), Touch me Festival (CH), MUSAC (ES). http://mariacastellanos.net