Talking Plants 
(Plantenes Stemmer )

To be opened at 18th June 2020 at Oslo Public Library Deichman Bjørvika.

I have been honored by given a commission for making an new art piece for the new public library Deichman Bjørvika in Oslo .

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.

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 mystical design of some of the plants in the animation are inspired on the antique Botanical Voynich manuscript, which was written by an unknown author in the 15th century.
The Voynich manuscript is a mysterious, illustrated handwritten book with unintelligible content. The script, written in an unknown language or code, has not yet been deciphered and throughout the centuries had many owners and scientist who tried to solve the mystery.
The mysterious plants from the manuscript and its secret code made me think of the secret life that plants have without us knowing it and inspired me to make this animation where the plants show off with movements and speak a language of their own.

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 video installation is full with otherworldly plants in an mystical  atmosphere. Together with the sound miniatures from 12 international composers who created miniature soundscapes for the 12 plants that are the star actors in the animation, the work is becoming an extraordinary and mysterious botanical video installation.

The participating composers and musicians who are making the animation even more wonderful and which I am very grateful to work with 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

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

Photo credits Øystein Thorvaldsen