Under the Viral Shadow
Workshop | Sarah Grant
The workshop Plant-to-Plant Protocols with Sarah Grant is an unstable network of radios and IR sensor pairs attached to plants. It is a meditation on the aesthetics of data transmission and network disruptions caused by the natural movement of plants in response to light, wind, and other natural conditions. ASCII art data is transmitted in a loop between 12 networked devices and continuously printed out to a browser window once per iteration. A 13th device, a Raspberry Pi, pushes our ASCII data out to a public facing web page accessible to anyone with the link.
Data transmission is processed by a simple data transfer protocol custom written by the artist, resulting in out of order or dropped bytes. As glitches are introduced to the data due to this and other network disruptions caused by broken sensor connections between moving plants, we indulge in the aesthetics of data corruption and see what happens when we remove controls for maintaining the integrity of data received over a network connection.
Sarah Grant is an American media artist and educator based in Berlin at the Weise7 studio. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Fine Art from UC Davis and a Masters in Media Arts from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. Her practice engages with the electromagnetic spectrum and telecommunication networks as artistic material, social habitat, and political landscape. Since 2015, she has organized the Radical Networks conference in New York and Berlin, a community event and arts festival for critical investigations and creative experiments in telecommunications. She is currently the Visiting Professor of New Media at the Kunsthochschule Kassel and a Digital Fellow at the Weizenbaum-Institut in Berlin.