PLSS / Vegetal Studies

Plant Life Support Systems (PLSS) is a student research project (awarded funding by Concordia 2010) to build a set of boxes for plants, with a watering system whose behaviour intertwines the everyday activities of the people in the lab, weather, LEEDS building environment, and plant and soil state. Over time, the PLSS has serve as a discussion object and a technical platform for understanding the limits of anthropocentric notions of, for example, ensign, movement, interaction, legibility, and ethics which is part of the Topological Media Lab’s larger Vegetal Studies research stream.


The goal of the Vegetal Studies research stream is to:

• experiment with human-plant ecologies from a Goethean approach to scientific study,

• design technical systems for sensing plant health and delivering sustenance (water, light, nutrients),

• critical inquiry into hard questions of environmental ethics,

work to create a living human/non-human community in the EV building,

• all the while trying to take a thoroughly Guattarian approach, building the system as a laboratory for the production of new subjectivites, as a machinic assemblage with ethico-aesthetic impact.


PLSS calls together gardening science and watering techniques, carpentry, electronics (Arduino, humidity and photo sensors), sensor data processing (very slow rhythms)


Katie Jung, Max (Zoe) Yuristy, Alex Gaskin, Jason Hendrik


Flower Lunn, Josée-Anne Drolet, Tim Sutton
PLSS – Plant Life Support System 2009-2011
Morgan Sutherland, electronics, plans; Laura Boyd-Clowes, plants, philosophy; Toby Glidden, physical construction.

Metamorphosis of Plants