Implementing an audio work in a site like Talvipuutarha faces the challenge of its rich historical context, provoking the question: what happens when a contemporary audio work is implemented in a historical, unique, iconic and socially complex site?
As a site for aural work, Talvipuutarha is charged with context. The historical underpinnings point to the representation of colonialism within the Russian Imperial context (see left, ‘Theatre of Nature and Colonial Reflections’). A contemporary reading of the greenhouse directly evokes global warming and the greenhouse effect. From the onset of the work, Lähdeoja and Moreno took a common decision to not steer the piece towards environmental art, which would have restricted the piece to a specific message, association, or pre-conceived sociopolitical thought. Instead, the composers wanted to work with the medium itself: sound, glass, and the situated location in a historical and iconic context. The desire was to not let contextual discourse override the essence of the work: the sonic craft. This left the space of associations open for the visitor. The sound work left open the possibility of reflection on the greenhouse’s contemporary symbolic meanings, but it could also be taken as an abstract piece centered on percepts within the complex boundary condition that the glass building offers (see left, ‘Transparency as a Perceptual Boundary Condition’). For the composers, it was essential to not colonise the space with a specific conceptual agenda beyond the sound work itself, and thus allow the space to breathe its own layers of meaning into the work. For the artists, the absence of sociopolitical agenda signified respect for this particular site, its inhabitants both human and botanical, its history, as well as its everyday visitors.
By design, IN SITU: Sonic Greenhouse deliberately embraces transparency as its founding metaphor. The piece’s audio transducer technology is mounted directly on the glass walls, fusing with the building’s structure. The building becomes a resonating instrument or, inversely, the sound becomes part of the transparent architecture. Visually, the transducers are small and merge into the environment without obstructing visibility through the glass walls. Careful exploration of the site, its atmosphere, social life, plant life, visitors, and staff was conducted before the design process was begun. We wished to comprehend the site in all its complexity prior to the actual composition work, in order to ensure that the sound would bring a pertinent novel sensorial dimension to the site.
Beyond the acoustic activation of the glass walls, three additional artistic devices emphasising the transparency theme were created.
1) Suspended plexiglass panels, both vertical and horizontal, serving as additional transparent sounding elements, were distributed in the higher parts of the Palm Room.
2) Inverted glass flower pots, containing a small loudspeaker, were placed on the ground, acting as a sound source for sonic acupuncture, as well as a visual metaphor for the whole work in miniature size: sound contained in glass.
3) Weather data was fed into the computer sound engine. In order to connect the sounds inside the greenhouse to the outside conditions visible through the glass walls, we implemented a network-based weather data feed into the generative granular synthesis sound engine used in the Cactus Room. By connecting the outside conditions to the sound engine, we envisioned finding a way around the greenhouse’s boundary condition. As a result, we obtained a perpetually varying generative sound structure tightly related to the atmosphere inside as well as outside the room. A detailed technical presentation and analysis of Sonic Greenhouse have been presented at the Sound and Music Computing Conference 2017. 
The experiential result of the work is one of transfiguration. The greenhouse’s glass shell is activated with sound, provoking a percept of sonic radiation through the windows — as if the sound co-originated with the light penetrating into the greenhouse. The sound immersed in transparency enters into synaesthesia with the surrounding atmosphere. The resulting perceptual effect is airy and spatial, as if the sound extended the greenhouse’s cocoon far into the distant skies. In the most successful instances of the piece, transcendence takes place, where the visitor experiences a multisensory, spacious, ethereal moment.