Christina Stadlbauer and Regula Heggli 



plant communication, plant cognition, plant human interfaces, environmental ethics, participatory performance,

Vegetal Speed Dating


The artistic intervention “Vegetal SpeedDating” is challenging the common understanding of plants as lower, immobile, non-sentient and passive forms of being, and commenting the emergent field of plant neurobiology with a practical experiment. In a controlled set-up, a number of participants is invited to explore their communication capabilities with a selection of potted plants by engaging with them through observation, “listening” and conversation. Special focus is given to the emotional response in the humans and possible reactions and responses that humans can perceive from the plants. The intervention aims at establishing a temporary situation where the interaction between vegetal and human worlds can be playfully explored.

The intervention aims at bridging the gap between human and vegetal consciousness, by suggesting a possible emerging love relationship between individuals across the kingdoms of plants and animals. The agency given to plants during the performance is inspired by scientific findings, but exceeds by far even the most daring understanding of vegetal capabilities by imagining plants as having opinions and preferences resulting from communicating with humans.

Moreover, the distributed, de-centralized and modular character of plant life is imagined as capability of interacting with several human brains and emotional reactions simultaneously.

Vegetal SpeedDating is part of an artistic research project called Veget:Ability. The project aims to explore and develop interfaces to access, illuminate and play with plants, embracing the broadly defined notions of cognition, individuality and relation both through tangible and conceptual ways of working.