Talking Plants 
(Plantenes Stemmer )

In the sound and video installation “Talking Plants” the viewer is challenged to discover a strange botanical world with mystical plants and their personal voices.
The design of some of the plants in the animation is inspired by the ancient Botanical Voynich Manuscript, written in an unknown code by an unknown author in the 15th century.
The mysterious plants in the manuscript and the never-deciphered code the manuscript was written in are reminiscent of the secret, unintelligible communication that plants have with each other.
This inspired me to create this animation in which the plants show off in movements and speak their own language.

Plants are often the subjects of paintings but their involvement in literature and drama is rarely centre stage. Many authors have written from the point of view of an animal or created animals with distinctly human characteristics. Anthropomorphic plants are harder to find and generally confined to the realm of fantasy. Possibly the most realistic occur in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. The roses, violets and daisies that Alice encounters there are ‘real’ flowers with ‘real’ preoccupations like a fear of being picked or of their petals fading. They only fail to talk, as the Tiger-lily explains, for lack of “anyone worth talking to”.

The soundscape consists of twelve selected national and international musicians and composers, each of whom gave their own vision of the “voice” of a plant.

The participating composers and musicians with whom I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate are:

Benedicte Maurseth (folk musician from Norway)

Cheryl E Leonard (composer, performer, field recordist and instrument builder from USA)

Heidi Torsvik (artist, singer, composer, performer, producer from Norway)

Kala Pierson (Performer and awarded composer from USA)

Kanaris Keramaris (Composer and filmcomposer from Greece)

Lazerus Winter (Grammy-nominated, platinum award- winning record producer, composer, artist, musician from USA)

Maria Jardardottir (Performing/composing voice musician/producer, Røyst Trio from Norway)

Mari Kvien Brunvoll (Performer, composer, musician, sound artist from Norway)

Molly Joyce (Composer and performer from USA)

Passepartout Duo (International musical duo, performers and composers)

Sigrid Anita Haugen (composer and sound designer from Norway)

Stig Lundblad-Sandbakk (Musician from Norway)


Drawings and animation: Simone Hooymans

Animation and special effects: Hans Pulles

Mastering sound  Wallcon lyd studio in Ålvik

Opened at 18th June 2020 at Oslo Public Library Deichman Bjørvika.

The installation is located in a niche between the bookshelves and contains a 5 screen video installation and two 4 meter long botanical wall papers with the print of the original drawings and the names of the musicians by the plants they represent.

“Talking Plants” is in permanent collection of Oslo Kulturetaten.

Photo credits Øystein Thorvaldsen