Acoustic Botany

Genetically Engineered Sound Garden.
The debate around Genetic Engineering is currently centered around vital issues such as food, healthcare and the environment. However, we have been shaping nature for thousands of years, not only to suit our needs, but our most irrational desires. Beautiful flowers, mind altering weeds and crabs shaped like human faces all thrive on these desires, giving them an evolutionary advantage. By presenting a fantastical acoustic garden, a controlled ecosystem of entertainment, I aim to explore our cultural and aesthetic relationship to nature, and to question its future in the age of Synthetic Biology.

flower Singing flower. Because the parasite diverts the plant’s energy for its own purposes, only small flowers manage to grow. 

leaf-gall Modified Agrobacterium takes sugars and nutrients from the host plant to encourage the growth of parasitic galls and fill them with gas to produce sound.

labshot Lab Testing Rig: Factors like tension and temperature are modulated to fine tune the sound.


The String-Nut and its symbiont: bugs engineered to chew in rhythm.


graftingDesired traits such as volume, timbre and harmony are acquired through selective breeding techniques.


C-Type prints and video

Scientific Advisors:
Christina Agapakis (Harvard University. Oscillator)
Kirsten Jensen and James Chapell (Imperial College London)

Thanks to:
Tommaso Lanza
Tim Olden
Emily Hayes
Andy Clymer
James Brown & PJ Steiner at the Haseloff Lab, Cambridge

What If... - International Design Triennale, Beijing CN
Becoming Transnatural - Amsterdam NL
Alter Nature: We Can - Z33 Hasselt BE
London Design Festival - V&A London UK
What If… - Wellcome Trust London UK

Utopia Forever Gestalten 2011
We Make Money Not Art
Next Nature