Spore 1.1 is a project created by SWAMP (Studies of Work Atmosphere and Mass Production) a studio founded in 1999 by artists Douglas Easterly and Matt Kenyon. In this project the life or death of a rubber tree plant is tied directly to current market forces.
Wi-Fi signals are like water, information mined from the internet is food, and electronic pulses become sunlight.
The project consists of a Home Depot purchased plant hooked up to a self-contained watering mechanism and calibrated on a weekly basis via Wi-Fi according to the performance of Home Depot's stock. If the Home Depot stock is doing well the plant gets its proper water supply. If on the other hand Home Depot's stock does poorly the plant does not get watered. If the plant should end up dying due to poor stock performance, it is returned to the Home Depot and replaced with another at no cost due to Home Depot's one year plant guarantee policy.
"The premise of Spore 1.1 is to expose choice and convenience as mechanisms of control. Data is gathered from a corporation (the collective exhaust of various human, cybernetic and social activity) and then used to effect the rubber tree plant, consequently expressing a viewpoint regarding the relationship between the individual and corporation."
The results of the duo's experiment with the plant?
"Home Depot’s stock ratings varied the whole time of the project. In November and December, however, Spore1.1 received water on 8 consecutive weeks. Its health seemed to steadily deteriorate after that, as its roots became rotted, and eventually died in January 2004. This was an unexpected result, as we assumed a weekly 1 minute watering would not kill the plant, rather only a lack of water would kill it. But it somehow seemed appropriate that the plant would die because of an overabundance of Home Depot stock gains"
You can see more of the studios work at: http://www.swamp.nu/
Via: @Bruces at Beyond the Beyond
Additional Coverage: MediaCommons, Project PDF
Image Credits: SWAMP