Hearing Test – n:o 2

Beloff, L. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference presentation


The presentation addresses the fields of media-art and art & science with an approach across technology and biology through articulation of interests and motivations for a practice-based project, which is an experiment and an installation consisting of living plants, audio recordings of the plants’ roots and overall technological setup. The project has been inspired by recent science research in acoustic emissions in plants and their possible meaning and use as a communication. Based on the detected bioacoustics emissions the researchers have made claims about intelligence and cognitive abilities of plants – that plants can hear, communicate, remember and, in general, sense their environment and other species to a degree that has been until now beyond human presumptions. In the focus of the project is a detection of high frequency clicking sounds regularly emitted by the tips of the plants’ roots. According to scientists plant roots produce high frequency clicks between 20-300 kHz by bursting of air bubbles. These clicks are just above human hearing range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. It is not clear for scientists why this phenomenon of clicking root-tips is happening. The aspect of not-yet-knowing leaves openness for interpretations and imagination, but also it points to the fact that there might be other discoveries to be made. The artistic investigation into this phenomenon has been a bottoms up exploration, in which the clicks are detected and played out for us in a human hearing range. Further plans include implementation of an AI component that detect patterns in the emerging clicks. The project asks with a slightly cynical tone - will humans ever be able of a reciprocal communication with another species or even capable of ‘hearing’ another species which differs from us - such as a plant?
Period21 Aug 2019
Held atAalborg Universitet, Denmark
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • art & science