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Plant-Technology Hybrids

Project details

Bachelor – Graphic Design
Social Practices
New Earth

This project is about observing plant-technology hybrids in urban areas and analyzing the stories they tell about the interaction of human technologies with non-human entities like plants and animals.

My fascination for these interactions stems from my childhood. Growing up, my days were filled with explorations in a nearby forest. I have memories of remnants of human presence like old car wheels, metal pieces, and bottles strewn across the riverbed. Disguised by erosion these technological artifacts seemed out of place yet part of their surroundings. Objects like these raise questions about their origin and how they interact with their surroundings.

It is no secret that simple and complex human technology increasingly interacts and merges with non-human entities. This phenomenon is especially apparent in urban spaces, where the blending of human creations with non-human entities leads to unexpected and intriguing hybrid creations. Through observation, I have selected three plant-technology hybrids within urban environments to analyze: plastic-wood nests, plant-concrete surfaces, and anti-bird trees. Each of these hybrids is part of a hybrid landscape where categories like natural and artificial continue to blur.

My observations reveal that some of these hybrids are intentionally designed, while others are the result of accidental interactions where technology merges with its surroundings in unforeseen ways. These often absurd interactions, highlight how human technology frequently overlooks the impacts on non-human entities, as it primarily serves human needs. 

There is great potential in consciously designed hybrids that not only merge on a material level but also have hybrid functions that serve both, the human and non-human world. To embody this responsibility and dual potential of human technology, both supportive and destructive, I have created an interactive plant-technology hybrid.

Through the interactive format, the participant becomes part of the installation, representing the anthropogenic influence. When the plant is touched, the digital plant decays, while the full-spectrum light above the real plant turns on, supporting its growth. This demonstrates the destructive but also supportive potential of human technology in a condensed setup. It allows the participant to experience an immediate transformation of their surroundings (sound, light, and visuals), bridging the gap between the influence of human technology and its often delayed or indirect consequences on non-human entities.

This project encourages revisiting familiar environments like urban areas through an observational lens that recognizes plant-technology hybrids. Such a perspective allows us to observe the effects of the Anthropocene in our immediate surroundings, making the responsibility of human technology more tangible.