The Song Of Plants

Imagine a fully symbiotic relationship between humans and plants that is strengthened by pure sonic communication. Imagine walking amongst the redwoods, dipping down to meet the nearest perennial leaf, and hearing its song. Imagine the healing, perception, and awareness that could come from such an experience.

There is one sonic artist that is making this reality possible. Her name is Mileece. As a renewable energy ambassador and multi-disciplinary artist, this impressive and exceptionally creative woman has taken on the role of nature’s medium. She has developed a method of processing bio-electric transmissions coming off of plant leaves through her own software. With this, she is able to translate the language of plants into wondrous musical soundscapes.

Photo by Xavier Aaronson, Vice Media

This process is not just beautiful and artistic; her work makes an important contribution to the ongoing dialogue of plant consciousness.

Recent scientific scholarship has proven that plants transmit information (sounds) with electrical pulses and a system of voltage-based signaling. This process is eerily reminiscent of the animal nervous system. There is a whole new dimension of language that can be learned from these transmissions by understanding how plants respond to cues that are directly caused by their environment. These very complex, leafy, intricate life-forms are too often dismissed as “inanimate,” but in fact, have a profound ability to communicate. It is this communicative potential, that which is heralded as the crux of intelligent life, that inspire artists like Mileece.

In an interview with Tom Tom Magazine, Mileece stated the driving purpose of her work:
I try to facilitate connections between people and plants for the sake of people understanding that plants are 100% equivalent to life on earth as we know it…it’s about changing the paradigm of an individualistic society into one of collaboration.

In agreement with Mileece vision, Pacific Domes collaborated with her on a project at Los Angeles’ LILA School in 2016 called The Sentient Plant BioDome Project.
Our Pacific Domes team team was able to work with Mileece and the Los Feliz school campus to create a biomimicry space for young students to practice mindfulness, biology research, and the revolutionary art of listening to plants.

Lila School
Photo by Nirvan Mullick, Tom Tom Magazine

Mileece has worked with students in the BioDome to conduct listening exercises. She believes that we, as humans, physiologically resonate on all levels with a healthy wilderness. “Within the dome,” Mileece says, “is a hybrid between natural soundscapes and organic electronic music.” Her ongoing project, ORBS, uses domes to foster these connections by creating sensitive harmonic spaces embedded within wilderness environments.

Mileece - Lila School
Photo by Pacific Domes, Mileece in the BioDome with students

Embedded sensors generate specialised eco-soundscapes activated when children sit still, creating a healthy, unique mindfulness playground and calming study environment.

In 2005, at her first residency, Mileece developed unique technology to transform the bio-emissions of plants through what she calls ‘aesthetic sonification’. Since 2006, she has created and toured immersive, interactive ecological environments and performances featuring The technology (which she calls PiP) in museums (e.g. MoMA, NYC, Migros Museum, Zurich, TATE Modern, London), festivals (Microfest, Hong Kong, Decibel Festival, Seattle, BHIF Festival, Bhutan) and venues (Kew Gardens, London, Sonos Studios, LA, CAC, Shanghai) across the world.

These works embed her interactive sculptures & instruments and often include specialized, bioacoustic soundscapes she has recorded in remote wildernesses over the years. her goal to ‘promote ecology through technology and the arts’ has evolved to include bio-generative interactive light and kinetic scapes, forming fully immersive environments. her landscaping and interactive installation designs have  reached over 100 million viewers, featured on prime time television broadcasts and niche channels alike (treewe’vr interactive travelling forest (2013), VICE Motherboard (2014), NY Times advertising of the year campaign (2013)). 

Mileece frequently lectures (moma’s PS1,  TedxSH, CalArts, Queen Mary University, CUHK Shenzhen, Frieze art fair) on what she calls ‘Biophilic technology’; community-driven, zero-emission sustainable culture and ‘phytophilic’ design (UCLA, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, NY). She has published essays on algorithmic music and waste to energy systems (Oxford Press, Triple Canopy) and research papers for innovate Uk on distributed energy and digital currencies.

Her 3d music compositions for nature-promoting VR have been featured at the Saatchi Gallery & Royal Festival Hall, London among other venues, winning the Tribecca Film Festival’s award in that category 2017 and first place on Forbes’ 2019 review of VR installations.  

Her  general  effort over the last ten years has been oriented towards the creation of network based urban wilderness sanctuaries inside technologically augmented biodomes, powered by electricity generated by her family’s zero-impact waste to energy fuel cell systems. Branded as orbs, this all-encompassing endeavour takes shape as a collaborative effort of cutting edge technology partners, artists, public institutions and conservation groups to forge innovative connections between cities and the wild earth. 

At Pacific Domes, we are honored to work with exceptional artists and renewable energy ambassadors like Mileece. To learn more about her inspiring sonic artwork, you can hear her speak about the process during this interview with Vice: