Connecting Unconventional Botanic Experiences
C.U.B.E. transforms foodplants into communicators of linguistic, audio and visual contents depending on situationational developments, external conditions and human imputs
Imagine to have a cube, with some earth and a seed (let's say a tomato seed) in it. The cube is a multisensored environment through which the growth of the plant will produce inputs online. The combination of every movement, change of humidity, temperature and light will produce an unique language that you, your friends and your plant will share. In pactice, your foodplant assumes the role of an active participant on social network platforms Twitter, SounCloud and Flickr.
What does that mean?
Imagine a foggy day, in which you forget to water you foodplant...the C.U.B.E. will change its background color into something pretty dark, it will post a picture of itself on Flickr and will create a song with pretty low tones and dark melodies, which will be posted on SounCloud. At the same time, the C.U.B.E. will not forget to mention its status on Twitter, telling you and your shared friends its current state....At that point, you will probably remember to water the plant, which will change its online inputs, being a little bit more happy and less melancholic...
Through on-line personification of the natural world, the more-than-human opinions enters the Web 2.0 and the current imbalance between different life forms is challenged.
C.U.B.E. allows plants to exert their virtual identity, reminding users that food production can be approached in a different, playful and more local way. C.U.B.E also proposes an instant, direct way to create awareness about the connection in between what you eat and what you are.
: We would like to bring matters of food production, consumption, distribution and disposal to the eyes and in the hands of the community of Web 2.0. users. And C.U.B.E is our first attempt to work in this direction. Did you ever wonder how to make people aware of the importance of what they eat? Did you ever imagine how to speak about food-related issues with somebody that would have never taken them into account? By conjoining sensory technology with an exploding culture of on-line social networking, we want to make an intellectual and practical turn away from abstract environmental debates. We want to focus on the much neglected micro level, namely, the individual, personal, face to face relationship with food. C.U.B.E. is meant to generate virtual presence and voice within the margin of on-line social networking, influencing users’ perception of their position within the food system.
: Our target audience are firstly people living in urban areas, with little access and thus knowledge about the growth mechanisms of foodplants. Among this vast group, we directly address our project towards the community of Web 2.0 addicts and users that are generally involved in social networking activities. By speaking the language of this community, we are willing to involve them in innovative, more interactive food-related activities.
: It is becoming quite a common practice to use sensors to feed information from the physical back to the virtual realm. It seems that this practice is also increasingly focusing on the connection between plants and users. We cannot avoid to mention that we drew inspiration from the long standing tradition of object-oriented, dynamically typed and reflexive programming aimed at sensing and monitoring the physical world. Several projects, such as Garduino and Botanicalls had already made use of such microcontrollers as Arduino for taking input from different switches and sensors and accordingly following light, moist, temperature and rain conditions affecting plant growth and well-being. For example, the Botanicalls project opens a communication channel between different specifies (humans-plant) through twitter updates of plant’s condition. C.U.B.E. builds on the latter by extending the plant’s communication channels (i.e. Soundcloud and Flickr), adding complexity, environmental awareness and personification. C.U.B.E. brings the understanding of food growing mechanisms to the eyes of who would have never took them into consideration. Yet, this project is innovative because it sets practical, useful, important standards: C.U.B.E. not only entertains and plays, but also transfers shared knowledge and promote good practices.
: Although developed for human social interaction, the user-generated information sharing and collaboration philosophy of Web 2.0 is a necessary prerequisite for C.U.B.E. Web 2.0 is the only technological paradigm that allows the communication of visual, linguistic and audio inputs generated by the foodplant situational experiences. In conclusion, by obvious reasons of information sharing possibilities, Web 2.0 is considered to be the most effective channel to connect unconventional botanic experiences.