यो टा

Plant Data



Museu História Natural
MHNC-UP, Porto

Yota Ayaan
Mariana Sottomayor
Stefaan Van Leuven

Pushing back on biosensing techniques to open new ideas on plant acoustics with latest data acquistion technology from the Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Ghent University Belgium.

Four-channel audio installation, Fraxinus excelsior trees,
sound desks, laptops, power cords, stand, speakers

Duration: 24:00:00
Photography: Carlos Campos

Press release

Through an artist-in-residence at Faculdade de Ciências FCUP Yota Ayaan worked with Mariana Sottomayor, a Professor of Cell Biology developing research in leaf cell physiology of a medicinal plant at CIBIO-InBIO to find new data on plant harmonics. In their research they found a long history in biosensing techniques met with constant doubt and debate at its scientific validity. Going further they found the relatively new field of acoustic emissions (AE) acquistion in plants and the work of Professor Kathy Steppe from the Laboratory of Plant Ecology at Ghent University, one of the worlds leading laboratories of AE detection in plants.

In their conversations Steppe suggested that “actually the role of the artist here is necessary, we must attempt to convert this AE data, to interpret it in order to render it accessible”. The AEs have never been recorded as sound, only numerical data. The laboratory provided data records taken from the ash tree or Fraxinus excelsior, featured exclusively in the exhibition. Ayaan then worked in collaboration with Stefaan Van Leuven (Soulwax) on data interpretation and produced a multi-channel, twenty-four hour looped musical score.

The data structures are complex and convert to something not like human music. There are two sound systems at work, both based on accurate data but extruded into two contrasting time signatures. The first system tracks thousands of sound events, while the second system is concerned with the solar path where the sound arcs in and out of the piece over a duration of 12 hours. This solar arc is significant in the data records and composed at a smaller scale than the first, based on one AE event.

© 2021