Plug-in Habitat
Plug-in Habitat

Paula Nishijima
multimedia installation, 2022

Plug-in Habitat: an artistic research and artwork about the intelligence of plants

A research based on the question posed by architectural neo-futuristic group Archigram in the 1960s: what would happen if the whole urban environment could be programmed and structured for change?

The notion of an architecture that adapts to change is also embodied in the intelligence of plants – whose structure is modular and distributed, without a central control, but with a cooperative organisation that adjusts to altering conditions in their context.

In Plug-in Habitat, Paula Nishijima investigates adaptive strategies of plants as well as their relationship with other species and the environment. The artistic research is translated into an interactive installation composed of one living organism, a cushion plant located in the Atlantic Botanical Garden, and two artificial modules. The modules in the exhibition receive information from the plant about how it adapts to the changes in the environment – and respond to each other in a feedback loop of interactions that regulates the whole system.

Plug-in Habitat aspires to a more organic, self-organised way of building through change – instead of resistance to it.

Paula Nishijima is a visual artist with a research-based practice that unfolds at the crossroads of life science, technology, and participatory social practice. She investigates the collective, self-organized behavior of living systems in nature, and how it inspires more collaborative, sustainable, and ethical forms of relationships between humans, nonhumans, and the environment. Her artistic research is materialized into different media, such as video, photography, and bio art. Recent exhibitions include Plug-in Habitat, LABoral Centro de Arte, Gijón, Spain; Here and Now, Media Art Festival, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 2021; Teachable Moment, Stove Works, Chattanooga, USA, 2020. She received an MA in Arts and Culture from Leiden University, Netherlands, and holds a BA in Visual Arts from the Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho, São Paulo, Brazil.

In collaboration with:
Biomimetic Laboratory (Marlén López & Manuel Persa)
scientist collaborator: Tobias Seidl, (Westfälische Hochschule, Germany)
biologists from the Atlantic Botanical Garden, Gijón, Spain: Francisco de Borja, Jiménez-Alfaro and Eduardo Fernández Pascual (Oviedo University, Spain)
sound artist: Ben Tupper
interactive designer: Adrián Cuervo
telecommunication developer: Alejandro Juan García
graphic designer of mural: Elisa Cuesta
video documentary: Nadia Penella