Like humans, plants are living things. What’s interesting is that plants somehow communicate information to each other and are able to do so even across great distances. There is a definite language among plants. That’s what the Greenhouse Silent Disco is all about. This exhibit attempts to connect with the hidden, mysterious world of plants, something that more humans should seek to do as we search for ways to heal the environment.

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A photo of the silent disco name surrounded by wood

This installation is part of the 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition in Milan, Italy. It’s meant to help decipher the language of plants and possibly help humans connect to this mysterious world. It’s unlike any other greenhouse you’ve ever seen.

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A bunch of plants on shelves

This greenhouse is outfitted with digital sensors that capture data about the plants and their reaction to stimuli, such as the sound of human movement. The sensors also record how plants respond to the weather. Meanwhile, the reactions from the plants are transmitted into LED light flashes and sounds. In a way, the plants here are truly communicating.

Another angle of the plants with an informational panel nearby

Moreover, a plant psychologist helped work on this greenhouse along with two museum curators and architects at Miastopracownia. Plants communicate with the system using photosynthesis and when they receive light but don’t use it, through an occurrence called chlorophyll fluorescence.

A view of the plants with a black tube weaving throughout

This is what makes the greenhouse like a silent disco. LED lights change colors and patterns depending on what the plants have to “say” through the sensor network. The greenhouse itself is an elegant wooden framework full of handmade, artisanal terracotta pots. In addition, reflective glass walls make the greenhouse look infinite. This makes the atmosphere completely immersive. It’s just you, the plants, and the lights and sounds telling you what the plants have to say. What would plants say if they could speak?

They might say that, for once, it’s nice to be considered and to be the center of attention. As people visit this silent disco, they’ll be wowed at the sensory abilities plants have.

+ Adam Mickiewicz Institute

Images via the Adam Mickiewicz Institute