With his speculative ‘acoustic garden’ David Benqué tries to explore our cultural and aesthetic relationship to nature. He states that the current debate around Genetic Engineering is centred around subjects like food and healthcare but that the altering of nature is no new development.
Mankind altered nature for hundreds of years.
Think of flowers and mind altering weeds. Benqué wants to question the role of our aesthetic relationship to nature in this age of synthetic biology.
He designed a variety of plants that are able to produce sounds. Such as parasitical plants that feed of other plants and grow big shapes filled with gas produced by special bacteria. This gas creates a high pitched sound when it escapes under pressure. Or a string nut that, combined with insects that can chew in rhythm, can create all kinds of sound frequencies.
Trough selective breeding techniques different frequencies and volumes can be achieved. By grafting (a very old technique that allows you to grow different species of plant out of one tree trunk) you could create a complete harmony in one tree.
An installation based on this project can be seen at the exhibition 'Alter Nature: We Can' at Z33 in Hasselt (Belgium) from November 20th 2010 to March 13th 2011.