Data Garden Quartet

Artist Statement

We all think we know what nature sounds like. It’s birds chirping, wind through trees, thunder echoing through a valley. These are all sounds that come from physical phenomena in nature, producing waves perceivable by the human ear: the need to mate, currents of air and water, static electricity. There are other phenomena in our natural environment, however, that produce information which we cannot perceive through our biological senses.

Digital technology has become a natural extension of our human senses. With it, we are not just gaining the ability to observe new information. We are revealing new patterns of creative expression. These revelations raise questions about our own place in a Universe filled with natural elegance. What is the creative force of the Universe? Is the force that inspires a human to write poetry the same as that which inspires a plant to grow in a particular way? Data Garden explores these ideas and more through QUARTET, an audio installation allowing humans to experience the biorhythms of plants as music.

The musical compositions in QUARTET are generated by the electronic impulses produced by four tropical plants. This information, interpreted by humans with the help of computers, is employed to organize sound into beauty perceivable by the human ear. While the means of producing this beauty can be described in technical terms, the natural creative force generating this experience is less apparent.

Data Garden invites you to experience QUARTET while examining your own views on the source of its creation.

Additional Info

Data Garden QUARTET made its debut at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2012. It has since shown at The Center for Post-Natural History at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as part of VIA Festival; University of Colorado Environmental Center in Boulder, Colorado as part of CMKY Festival; the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada as part of Las Vegas First Friday, SXSW Interactive in Austin Texas, Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton New Jersey and Mack Sennett Studios in Los Angeles, California.