Phusis is a prototype for an environment that creates a negative feedback loop response ‘sound forest’ using arduino, sensory technology, a synthesizer (programmed with pure data), and dormant urban plant specimens. Instead of a responsive’ environment, in which an object responds directly to the interaction of the user, this environment is instead made calm or made silent via interaction with it. The ‘forest’ vibrates frenetically and the synthesizer makes the most sound when left alone. In other words, the tree always makes a sound in the forest, but only when there are no people there to hear it.
By thinking through a different model of a negative feedback loop, the installation aims to explore the way in which stimuli and response operate on levels of non-interaction.
Much of our new media interaction depends upon the connection between users and responsive technology programmed to react to human interaction or human interference. Phusis performs an exploration of the opposite. What does software produce when we leave it alone to interact without us?
When the sound levels (microphone sensors) or touch sensors capture their lowest detectable levels in the environment, the ‘forest’ vibrates frenetically and the synthesizer makes the most sound. In absolute silence and when free from human touch, it moves the most.
When touched or when the ambient sound levels get higher to do the presence of people (or other loud animals), the synthesizer begins to slow down into a decaying note, and the object becomes still.