Interactive networked installation (version 2)

Rasa Smite, Raitis Smits

Interactive installation Talk To Me introduces the idea of global connectivity between humans and other species. There are scientific hypotheses that communicating with plants makes them grow better. Installations online interface in combination with text to speech engine allows exhibition visitors and all online users to “talk” to the plants remotely, whereby uniting them into one network.

Digital prints with the most frequently used word maps

Talk To Me installation (version 2) contains two plants equipped with loudspeakers, ip cameras and LED grow lights. Audience can interact with the work via web interface by sending text messages which in computer generated speech are read aloud to the plants. One plant receives messages in female voice an another in male voice.
Realtime word cloud application analyses all messages in the database and displays the most frequently used words in both male and female voice messages.
Installation is accompanied with three digital prints showing the textual data collected from more than 13 000 messages received starting from year 2011 when the installation was first launched. One of the prints shows the most frequently used word map and how often these words appear together in the same message. On two prints are shown word clouds of most frequently used words in male and female voice.
Installation also includes 3D printed word cloud which shows most frequently used words from all collected messages from the same period of time.
Another component in the installation is time lapse video, which shows the growth of the plants in four different locations during the two year period (2011 – 2012) when the interactive installation Talk To Me was on display in the galleries in Tallinn, Basel, Riga and Ventspils.

3D printed word cloud

Talk To Me is an artistic inquiry into human and plant communication, exploring the relationships between nature and people, biology and technology, biological and social processes in particular. We started the Talk To Me project by asking – do plants grow better, taller and more beautiful, if people talk to them? As our interest was less biological than social, our research focused more on the communicative dimension and less on the growing aspect; we were also curious – will people be “talking” to the plants by using our own developed online interface?

Credits: RIXC – production; Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits – artistic concept, project execution; Martins Ratniks – video editing; Davis Bojars – programming.



Lielais Dzintars (Great Amber), Liepāja, Latvia, September 2017

White Night Festival, National Library of Latvia, Riga, Latvia, September 2016