Urban plants Sound

A live concert for plants and city center

15jun 2022




How do plants interact when they are in an urban environment? How much does what we produce – electromagnetic waves, noise, pollution – affect what nature around us would like to tell us?

Riccardo Mazza and Paolo Dellapiana, two composers with a passion for modular synthesizers, try to explain it to us on Wednesday 15 June from 6 to 9 PM (free admission) through Urban Plants Sound, a sound performance combining the urban and plant environments. A live concert for plants and city center representing the final event of the first part of the Urban Lab 2020 cultural programme focused on the relationship between Nature and the City.

A small forest is created under the porticos in Piazza Palazzo di Città, in front of Urban Lab. That’s where the two musicians are playing together with an orchestra made of plants and flowers, and connect with the sounds and noises – radio and electromagnetic waves – that the city generates. An experimental live artistic installation which, through music, aims to reconnect man and his habitat.

The city produces noises – we all know that – but also what we don’t see, for example electromagnetic waves and radio waves, influences our mood, as well as the mood of the plants.

During the performance a network of sensors is applied to the leaves in order to capture the potential difference generated in the plant. Such variation is then transformed into signals that, through the instruments, are performed live by the artists giving them a narrative sound, inspired by the single plant, through algorithms elaborated live in an experimental way.

An antenna built for the occasion detects a range of frequencies from zero to microwaves, interference we daily are subjected to. They become part of the performance by influencing the plants which, depending on how they feel and on the conditions that surround them (light, dark, noise), modify the flow of signals, giving life to an emotional installation, which draws inspiration and lymph from the perception of the context.

The electrical signals that move the plants, therefore, move the machines: they play, becoming part of the orchestra.

A profound interaction is therefore created between the musicians, nature, the city and the public. The audience will in fact also influence the detected electromagnetic waves with its presence (just think of the mobile phones in our pockets).

A way to convey, especially in this difficult historical moment, a reunion between city and nature through art: two apparently irreconcilable worlds are made to coexist in an artistic work of hope.

The initiative also aims to be an attempt to respond to the phenomenon of Plant blindness (defined by Elisabeth Schussler and James Wandersee in 1998), according to which men tend not to see plants in the surrounding environment, with the consequence of failing to recognize their importance for human activities and in the biosphere, even if they occupy over 90% of the surface that surrounds us.

The performance would like to overcome this blindness of man in front of plants and nature, making us reflect: how is it that we see almost only the city, but in reality what surrounds us is almost all non-city?

Urban Plants Sound is a project by Urban Lab, realized in partnership with Seeyousound, Dual Green and Agriforest.

During the event it is possible to visit Urban Lab (extraordinary opening until 9 PM, free admission): in the exhibition space about Nature and the City new videos investigating the city riverbanks, as well as new interviews are available. These insights enrich the four perspectives  – vulnerability, biodiversity, right to green, wild as a resource – around which we have tried to reflect in recent months through meetings, debates and research.

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urban lab

piazza palazzo di città
10122 torino

orari di apertura

dal mercoledì al venerdì dalle 14 alle 19
sabato dalle 11 alle 19

ingresso libero

L’ingresso è libero alle mostre e agli eventi

come raggiungere urban lab

Tram: 4
Autobus: 11, 19, 27, 51, 57


+39 011 553 79 50


urban lab

piazza palazzo di città
10122 torino

opening hours

from Wednesday to Friday from 2pm to 7pm Saturday from 11am to 7pm

free entry

Access is free for all exhibitions and events

come to urban lab

Tramway: 4 Autobus: 11, 19, 27, 51, 57


+39 011 553 79 50