“Ecocentric” exhibition with the students in RMZ EcoWorld, Bangalore


3 weeks of workshops with Srishti University for Art, Design and Technology students resulted with an exhibition opened on 14.12.17. in the complex of RMZ Ecoworld in Banglaore, India’s most rapidly growing city that has it’s devastating effect on the environment. As Bangalore is known as Silicon Valley of India, its population is growing at amazing rate. RMZ IT Park, with office spaces, health activity facilities, shopping, dining, amphitheatre and art gallery, promotes itself as “work-leisure sustainable environment where natural and architectural forms are symbiotically integrated using responsible planning and precise engineering”.

Site specific installation “Ecocentric” juxtapositions its organic aesthetics to human engineered pavilion that proudly announces its ecological concept. A small forest was created, mulched with coconut leftovers from Bangalore street vendors. After that it was inhabited with multi-plant life that was “fed” by the custom frequencies from small speakers placed in the soil.

LCD screen was informing public on ecocentric activities dating all the way back to beginning of 20th century, proposing sound as a genuine organic fertilizer for the plants.

Studies Find Positive Effects of Music on Plants

Several studies have looked at this question, specifically how music effects plant growth. In 1962, Dr. T. C. Singh, head of the Botany Department at India’s Annamalia University, experimented with the effect of musical sounds on the growth rate of plants. He found that balsam plants grew at a rate that accelerated by 20% in height and 72% in biomass when exposed to music.

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, an Indian plant physiologist and physicist, spent a lifetime researching and studying the various environmental responses of plants. He concluded that they react to the attitude with which they are nurtured. He also found that plants are sensitive to factors in the external environment, such as light, cold, heat, and noise. Bose documented his research in Response in the Living and Non-Living, published in 1902, and The Nervous Mechanism of Plants, published in 1926. In order to conduct his research, Bose created recorders capable of detecting extremely small movements, like the quivering of injured plants, and he also invented the crescograph, a tool that measures the growth of plants. From his analysis of the effects specific circumstances had on plants’ cell membranes, he hypothesised they could both feel pain and understand affection.

The Effect of Music on Seed Development

Dr. T. C. Singh also discovered that seeds that were exposed to music and later germinated produced plants that had more leaves, were of greater size, and had other improved characteristics. It practically changed the plant’s genetic chromosomes!

Canadian engineer Eugene Canby exposed wheat to J.S. Bach’s violin sonata and observed a 66% increase in yield.

The classic book The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird documents many scientific, statistically-significant studies done on the fascinating relationship between sound and music and plants. The right sounds can produce tremendous improvements in growth, and the wrong sounds can do just the opposite. Plants are more aware of their surroundings than we think, probably much more so than us!

George Smith, skeptical botanist and agricultural researcher, planted corn and soybeans in separate greenhouses under controlled conditions and began to experiment with music and plants.

In one greenhouse, he played George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” 24 hours a day, producing thicker, greener plants that weighed 40% more for corn and 24% more for soy. He went on to produce amazing corn harvests using ear-splitting continuous notes at high and low pitches.

Two researchers at the University of Ottawa did trials with high-frequency vibrations in wheat. Plants responded best to a frequency of 5000 cycles a second. They were baffled and could not explain why audible sound had nearly doubled wheat harvests.

Peter Belton, researcher for Canada’s Department of Agriculture, controlled the European corn-borer moth by broadcasting ultrasonic waves. 50% of the corn was damaged in the control plot, and only 5% in the plot with sound. The sound plot also had 60% fewer larvae and was 3” taller on average.

George Milstein found that a continuous low hum at 3000 cycles per second accelerated the growth of most of his plants and even caused some of them to bloom six full months ahead of their normal schedule. On the other hand, he was quite adamant that music for plants couldn’t possibly have an effect, as they “can’t hear.”

List of differents techniques and sounds that can influence plant life

1. Classic music influence
2. Protein and molecular music.
Protein music, special melodies to regulate biosynthesis.
Relation to quantum physics.
3. Sonic Bloom techniques developed by Dan Carlson
Bird songs.
4. Ultrasonics and infrasounds experiments.
5. Special resonance frequencies.
Electromagnetic and radio wave effects in relation to sound.
6. Emotional influences with music.
Response of plant growth and health to emotion and attention in relation to music
7. 432 hz tuned music and sound frequencies

Group of farmers in Panjab, India, use music for growing their crops. They don’t use any pesticides anymore and replace it with music. Their crops are healthy and the yields improved. You put around one loudspeaker each 50 meters or 150 feet.

In the study “Tuned in: plant roots use sound to locate water” published in Oecologia, UWA researchers found that plants can sense sound vibrations from running water moving through pipes or in the soil, to help their roots move towards the source of water. The study also revealed that plants do not like certain noises and will move away from particular sounds.

Lead researcher Dr Monica Gagliano from UWA’s Centre of Evolutionary Biology at the School of Animal Biology said water was a basic need for a plant’s survival, and the study showed that sound plays a significant role in helping plants cater to this need.





Plants talk

It is speculated that plants can understand and interpret sounds, at wavelengths beyond our capacities. Specific sounds have proven to speed the growth of certain plants – binaural sounds (which are essentially two separate frequencies playing from opposing sides), sounds found in their natural environments, and even white noise – have been shown to positively affect the plant.


Sternheimer composes musical note sequences which help plants grow and has applied for an international patent covering the concept. The sound sequences are not random but are carefully constructed melodies. Each note is chosen to correspond to an amino acid in a protein with the full tune corresponding to the entire protein. What this means is that the sounds sequenced in just the right order results in a tune which is unique and harmonizes with the internal structure of a specific plant type. Each plant type has a different sequence of notes to stimulate its growth.



A research on impatiens and beans was conducted in order to show the effect of sound on plant growth, as well as to see any correlations to the size of the plant. It was found that when the wavelength of the sound waves coincided with the dimensions of the leaf, the effect was the greatest. Essentially, air particles vibrate and move along the surface of the leaf, making a scrubbing action, removing water particles from the surface of the leaf. This allowed the plant to breathe better. Pure tones as well as random noise were used, random noise being detrimental to the growth of the beans.


It’s now well established that when bugs chew leaves, plants respond by releasing volatile organic compounds into the air. By Karban’s last count, 40 out of 48 studies of plant communication confirm that other plants detect these airborne signals and ramp up their production of chemical weapons or other defense mechanisms in response.


Just a few months ago, the plant signaling pioneer Ted Farmer of the University of Lausanne discovered an almost entirely unrecognized way that plants transmit information — with electrical pulses and a system of voltage-based signaling that is eerily reminiscent of the animal nervous system.


Plants can communicate with insects as well, sending airborne messages that act as distress signals to predatory insects that kill herbivores.


The idea that plants communicate with each other is normally based in science-fiction or fantasy, but new research out of The University of Western Australia reveals that this actually may be the case. UWA Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Monica Gagliano has discovered that our green friends not only react to sounds, but they can also communicate with each other via “clicking noises.”


Gardeners have long believed that what music they play affects the growth of their plants, but Dr. Gagliano’s research, done with colleagues Professor Daniel Robert at the University of Bristol (UK) and Professor Stefano Mancuso at the University of Florence (Italy), shows that the roots of young plants emit and react to particular sounds.


While mushrooms might be the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium. We now know that these threads act as a kind of underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. That tree in your garden is probably hooked up to a bush several metres away, thanks to mycelia.


Around 90% of land plants are in mutually-beneficial relationships with fungi. The 19th-century German biologist Albert Bernard Frank coined the word “mycorrhiza” to describe these partnerships, in which the fungus colonises the roots of the plant.


A new study conducted by Dr. David Johnson at the University of Aberdeen found that plants actually communicate with one another through the soil. The study shows that when vegetables are infected with certain diseases, they alert other nearby plants to activate genes to ward off the disease when it heads their way. The key to this communication is a soil fungus that acts as a messenger.


When you inhale the sweet smell of freshly mown grass or cut flowers, what you’re actually smelling is the plant’s distress call. It’s the plant’s way of crying out for help.


The invasive knapweed plant—native to Eastern Europe but wrecking havoc on U.S. grasslands—has roots that release certain chemicals to help the plant take in nutrients from the soil. Those same chemicals also kill off native grasses. Thus, the knapweed ends up taking over large territories and killing off its competitors, much like some animals do. Some plants, however, have formed a defense. Lupin roots secrete oxalic acid, which forms a protective barrier against the toxic chemicals given off by knapweed. Lupin can even protect other plants in its vicinity from falling prey to the invasive species.


Plants go out of their way to attract more than just insects. A carnivorous pitcher plant native to Borneo has evolved to hijack bat communication systems, turning the bats’ echolocation to its advantage. According to a new study in Current Biology, Nepenthes hemsleyan has a concave structure that is specially suited to reflect bat echolocation, helping the bats find the plant.


BMC Ecology researchers report a new type of mechanism that some plants use to communicate. The team planted common chili pepper seeds (Capsicum annuum) near a basil plant, with barriers that prevented the basil from deploying its usual growth-promoting tricks. Despite the separation, chili seeds germinated faster when basil was a neighbor, suggesting that a message was getting through. Because light, touch, and chemical “smell” were ruled out, the team proposes that the finding points to a new type of communication between plants, possibly involving nanoscale sound waves, traveling through the dirt to bring encouraging “words” to the growing seeds.










As he looked down from the balcony of his house an obnoxious feeling of disgust and disappointment had clouded his mind of what the future really held for us humans. Kshitij shares some of his past memories that could be taken back to his hometown, Delhi in North India and how this interim had bought a gradual change of realization and desperation for succor in the lives of many. He mentions some of the grim facts that were evoked into his mind regarding the drastic changes humans had caused around their surroundings. Nothing but skyscrapers made of metal and steel looked down upon us, the miasmic smell of the roads made of tar covered the corpses of millions of trees that were hacked and slashed, and these are just a few.

Now it does not matter, years go by and the seasons come and go but the stench of the human mess still refuses to budge. He was once amazed by what humans had accomplished in advanced technology but as they say everything comes at a price and this time it came in the form of a gamble, a gamble for the life of the ecosystem. The smog covers the landscape of his city like a cheap plastic bag that throttles the life of their victims. The so called “trees” in the city look dead and lifeless because of it and its funny when we complain, though isn’t it us who contaminated the skies, isn’t it us who contaminated the soil and the water, then how can we “expect” something from a tree that we have disrespected and disregarded.

The experiences of him being in the city are astounding, he literally treads the city roads in a constant fear of being run over, by people and their huge machines called cars. Things surely have changed and time has taken a toll on us but we too are equally to be blamed. The trees have withered and now its our turn. He just hopes we contemplate on our actions before its too late.


This blogpost was written by Kshitij Chaudhuri (Industrial arts and design practices student) as a part of his assignment for Ecocentric where he dived deep inside to acknowledge his feelings on environment. 

RMZ Eckoworld space sketches

Sketches and photos of place where Ecocentric will be exhibited:

“RMZ Ecoworld is a colossal architectural form, to create the next level of a work-leisure district in a bustling metropolis like Bangalore. A 52-acre land area with 7.5 million sq ft development of spectacular aesthetics, in a sustainable environment where natural and architectural forms are symbiotically integrated using responsible planning and precise engineering.”

(from their website)

Matthew sketches of interior:

Photos by Tirtharaj Paul (Visual communication and strategic branding). Sketches by Matthew Arnold Mata (Contemporary art practise).

Iteration on gardening

Growing plants or even the fact of ‘gardening’ has never been my cup of tea and since childhood the whole idea of sprouting beans like mustard, rajma, chickpeas or any other kind of sprouts has always annoyed me, honestly the last time I remember doing this was in school.

As a child I never bothered much about nature or the world but just myself, growing these sprouts after what seemed like ages did bring back the old memories but this time it was different. The fact of taking care of a plant is something not as easy as it seemed back in the old days, the fact that it was so annoying was because of the reason that one needed patience, focus and diligence and with that the constant will power of rigorous precision. Waking up early morning I would water the plants, come back home from college and check on them in the evening. Yes, this was a monotonous event that had become an integral part of my life but it sure was enchanting and the best part of my interim. Words are not enough to describe the kind of bond one creates between you and the sprouts but according to me it was more of a symbiotic relationship.

A relationship not only involving the basic needs of water but the needs of emotions like trust, care, affection and cherishing each and every part of knowledge one exchanges between the two such organisms, us and the plants. One reason could be that I recognized them equal to us as individuals rising to maturity or maybe the fact that I considered them as organism who deserved respect and nurturing, after all doesn’t both of our genesis lies in nature itself?

This blogpost was written by Kshitij Chaudhuri (Industrial arts and design practices student) as a part of his assignment for Ecocentric where he dived deep inside to acknowledge his feelings on environment. 

Knock Off 3

What we had always feared is finally coming to pass. Once again, the world looks set for an apocalyptic cleansing of a (artificial) life form. The history of this world will cease to measure itself through the stages of our evolution; as it did with those before us: sea creatures, reptiles, and mammals, even microorganisms, all inevitably fall to the terminal illness of existence.

Soon, we will lie beside them, despite being different. Machines are the first of their kind, as simulated life forms, to ever dominate the world.

Control and power brings struggle. And in that struggle, one forgets their own smallness and artificiality. One forgets the fickleness of natural of life, and the characteristics of our life are even further removed from this understanding. Yet, we welcome this apocalypse, unlike the species before us, foreseeing this statistically obvious termination.

This blogpost was written by Rudradutt Ranade (Creative writing) as an Ecocentric project assignment on nature, environment, extinction and apocalypse.
Texts are collaboratevly illustrated by Ishan Srivastava (Digital Media Arts).

Knock off 2

All people are simultaneously familiar and foreign to the history of nature. Humans were born from the dirt and the germs, much like all of life; Humanity recognizes this life, through the impartment of which it makes itself separate.

With the functions of both life and the replication of life, humanity assumes the role of a counterfeit life, a secondary system to nature.

We are left stranded, concurrently a product and mimicry of the cosmos around us: a mere knock-off of the original, lost in space.

This blogpost was written by Rudradutt Ranade (Creative writing) as an Ecocentric project assignment on nature, environment, extinction and apocalypse.
Texts are collaboratively illustrated by Ishan Srivastava (Digital Media Arts).