Institute of Botanical
Mission Statement

We believe in the resilience of Botanicals and challenge ourselves to learn from them. Tuning in on their frequency we familiarize ourselves with their linguistic properties and seek ways to give botanicals a voice. We hope this voice will help us create a better understanding of our environment
The Institute of Botanical Linguistics was founded by Daniela Rota, Dorian de Rijk, Lucia Kolesárová and Meike Hardt in the framework of Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2017. The Institute of Botanical Linguistics is located in Amsterdam, Prague and Zurich.

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Case Study #01 Tomatilla 16

At the Research Institute of Botanical Linguistics, we do not impose our language upon Botanicals, we let botanicals 'speak'. In order to understand our research method it's important to take our notion of linguistics into account. We study the structure and modification of language created by botanicals. Our perspective is human but we emphasize the role of the plant as the source and see ourselves as mere interpreters who enable the plants to 'speak' to us.

For our first case study, we created a transmission device that can pick up the bio acoustics of our test plant Tomatilla 16.

Bioacoustics refers to the creation and reception of sound waves among biological organisms. Measured sound emissions by plants as well as differential germination rates, growth rates, and behavioral modifications in response to sound are well documented. Plants detect neighbors by means other than well-established communicative signals including volatile chemicals, light detection, direct contact and root signaling. Because sound waves travel efficiently through the soil and can be produced with minimal energy expenditure, plants may use sound as a means for interpreting their environment and surrounding.

The Research Institute of Botanical Linguistics can report that Tomatilla 16 emits bioauctoustics.
She responds to being stroked and watered and makes it clear when it wants to be left alone.

To prevent imposing 'human' language? we only use the raw data and developed a tool that Tomatilla 16 can use to express herself.
In this phase of our research, it was only possible to communicate tomatillo by giving her a set of stock images provided by Apple.

We enabled Tomatilla 16 to choose the images and rework them.
This led to the first examples of botanical linguistics.

In the future we hope to give Tomatilla 16 the properties to draw her own images, we however first want to give her the time to tell us if she wants to continue her working relationship with us and whether she would be interested in drawing.

The outcomes of our first case study are most exciting and we are much looking forward to working with Tomatilla 16 in the future. It is our hope that she feels the same, otherwise, we will consult other botanicals about our research.

At the Research Institute of Botanical Linguistics we take into account that botanicals have been here before us and will be here long after us. We can learn from botanicals and our research aims to make a mutal understanding attainable. Please sign up to our newsletter to stay tuned.
Thanks to Mediamatic for hosting us during the photoshoot and research. Thanks to George Bakker and Michaela Lakova for their great photographs and videos.