The Last Cyborgian Plant

My art practiceexplores the relationships between art and technologies in the contemporary artworld. This is an interactive installation of a “cyborg plant” (the combinationof organism and robot) running on the space. It attempts to explore the topic ofvirtual content, human, machine, and networking. The main contribution of thisproject including i) presented a hybrid physical and virtual object through acyborg plant, ii) explored an interconnection between human, machine, andvirtual content displaying on the device through Internet-of-Things framework,iii) innovated an interaction method between physical and virtual elements, iv)applying painterly, unique, and artist related texture on the everyday objects.Asthe audiences/users of this project, they will hold a custom device with customapps to view and interact with the “virtual cell” and the “cyborg plant.” Byopening or closing the mouth and both eyes, audiences/users are able to controlthe direction and movement of the “virtual cell” displaying in the AR screen,and the behaviors of the “cyborg plant” will be affected by the position of the“virtual cell.” The goal for the users is controlling the “virtual cell” to“guide” the “cyborg plant” to reach the “virtual water,” once the “cyborgplant” reach the “virtual water,” it will display colorful particles to createa happy scene.

The titleof this work attempt to immerse the audiences’ imagination in a futurist scene,telling them this is an adventure to explore the possibility of what oursociety will be in the future. The project presented both serious and humorous.The topic of the project is serious for audiences to critique the possibilityfuture and the interaction between human and devices is humorous by facecontrolling. Both the apps running on iPhone and iPad are made in Unity. On onehand, iPhone X are able to capture the human face in three-dimensions, and Iuse ARkit to acquire the data of the open and close states of the month andeyes. On the other hand, Vuforia is used for scanning the 3D “cybord plant” andapplying virtual eyes on it, as well as visualized the “virtual cell” on the ARscene. There are two controlling logic on the system to determine the movementof the “virtual cell” and the “cyborg plant”. When opening/closing month willcontrol the “virtual cell” go straight/stop, and the closing of right/left eyewill affect its direction. Additionally, there is a Ray Detection on thevirtual eyes of the “cyborg plant”. If the Ray detect the “virtual cell”, the“cyborg plant” will go straight, otherwise will rotate. These is a server hostthe interconnection by sharing data between the devices and the robot.

The inspirationof this project is from “Exploring a Mixed Reality Framework for theInternet-of-Things: Toward Visualization and Interaction with Hybrid Objectsand Avatars”, which is a research I work in Adaptive Context Environment (ACE)Lab as a research assistant with Dr. Alexis Morris. For expanding the conceptof “hybrid object”, this project applies the virtual elements on the physicalobject as unities, instead of a separate Avatar represent the physical one. Additionally,the “cyborg plant” is the embodiment of Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto”,addressing “A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine andorganism, a

creatureof social reality as well as a creature of fiction”. As I mention above,“cyborg plant” is the combination of robot body and organic plant, and this canbe extended into human body in future project. Moreover, the presenting of “millionsof brightly colored plastic wholesale items sold in Chinese superstores” in MikaRottenberg’s “Cosmic Generator”, is the inspiration of the texture I applyingto the “holder” and the body of the “cyborg plant”. As my understanding, the“millions of brightly colored” in my project presented the inclusive future ofhuman society, and accessibility for Children, Disability, Elder, etc.

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