Musical Instruments: Meet the Sonic Artist Making Music with Plants

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Musical instruments come in various sizes, shapes, colors…but turning a plant into a musical instrument is truly novel. This artist taps into the music of the plants to create soft melodies that soothe the listener, read about her story:

Mileece and her Organic Musical Instruments

In this episode of Sound Builders created by Motherboard, the crew journeys to Los Angeles, to meet with Mileece. She’s a sonic artist and environmental designer who’s developed the technology to give silent seedlings a portal to their own sonic expression.

Channeling a plant’s sentience into an instrument is no obvious feat. Mileece’s background as an audiophile and programmer dovetailed to turn a garden into an organic medium for music. She pulls this off by attaching electrodes to leafy limbs, which conduct the bio-electric emissions coming off living plants. The micro-voltage then gets sucked into her self-authored software, turning data into ambient melodies and harmonic frequencies.

It’s simply not enough for these green little squirts to just spit out noise. All this generative organic electronic music must sound beautiful, too. As a renewable energy ambassador, Mileece’s larger goal behind her plant music is to enhance our relationship with nature. And if plant music can have a pleasing aesthetic articulation then hopefully we all can give a greater damn about our environment.

While some may see the paradox in an organic medium generating electronic music, Mileece does not. She sees this as a symbiotic relationship, a vital one, and one that hints to a larger relationship she’s been trying to unify, which is that between humans and nature.