Zenovia Toloudi, Photodotes V: Cyborg Garden, 2015 


An experiment between nature and technology, this cyborg hanging garden allows plants and artificial lights to co­exist and co­evolve based on people's movements. As visitors approach the installation, the light spectrum changes to enrich the energy provided to the plants' roots and to enliven the garage’s dark space. The installation makes viewers aware of the diversity of light we encounter in life: the lack of light, homogenous light in interior spaces, and over­lighted spaces. 

Curator's statement (Jutta Friedrichs): 

As one walks closer to the Cyborg Garden by Zenovia Toloudi, the plants, one by one subtly light up. Like signals transmitted from underneath the pavement, feeding a constant stream of information into homes and workspaces, each plant is fed with light via an individual fiber optic cable welling up from an artificial source. The glowing tips illuminate unnoticed details of the plants and their roots, normally hidden. The sterile rows of cylindrical water vessels reminds one of a laboratory setting or specimen jars displayed in a natural history museum, preserving extinct or endangered organisms. The plants seem in danger; detached from their natural environment, they have become dependent on human care. The visitor’s proximity activates the life support mechanism, and light travels through the cables like nutrients through an IV drip, feeding the plants their essentials for survival. All twenty plants are connected to a central light and sensor network weaving together nature, technology and human spectators into one interdependent system.

Project credits: 

Concept and Production: Zenovia Toloudi/Studio Z 
Interaction Design: Spyros Ampanavos 
Fabrication Assistant: Samuel Golini 
Fabrication Consultants: Gregory Elder, John J Biele, George Toloudis 
On-Site Installation Team: Benjamin Bruce, Greg MacGlashing, Vien Nguyen, Charles Perrone Special Thanks: Dimitris Papanikolaou, Saurabh Mhatre, Panagiotis Stamboulidis 

Project Presented in Partnership with Dartmouth College and Hopkins Center for the Arts

*All photos by Dimitris Papanikolaou

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