Musicians have been putting a spell on their audiences for thousands of years by telling stories and giving rise to the endless imagination of the listener. However, more recently there has been a significant new addition to the world of musicians: plants. An innovative invention by Joe Patitucci and Alex Tyson called PlantWave is transforming plant life into music. The PlantWave device converts water movement and variations in plants into ambient, electronic music for the everyday listener. It uses two sensors which are attached to plant leaves that detect water movements, graphing these as a wave and translating these waves into music to give us a window into the life of plants.
The idea for PlantWave came about from a zero-waste record label started by PlantWave’s creators. After being invited to conduct an interactive installation that combined plants, music and technology at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where they had four plants playing four different instruments, they decided to make a consumer version for public distribution.
Like humans, every plant and indeed every leaf has its own style of playing music. Some plants may only play a few notes and some may play a full suite of musical sounds. The type of music and sounds played depends on multiple factors including the plant’s health, time of day and exposure to light.
Joe Patitucci hopes that PlantWave will renew our relationship with plants and nature as a whole. He believes that PlantWave can act ‘as a bridge for people from their phones back into nature’ and help ‘people have a deeper relationship with their plants’. As for what is next, Joe has just launched Plants.fm where you can listen to his plants streaming from his studio at any time and he wants to make the next version of PlantWave even more consumer-focused.