Hortus Christoph De Boeck Patricia Portela 2012
Twenty black boxes are spread over the public space of a park garden. They measure dynamics of wind and sunlight intensity. In trees and bushes mini loudspeakers are installed to reproduce birdsong. Hortus is an ecology in which the acoustic space of a garden is adapted to weather conditions on one hand and human activity on the other.
The natural division of wind power and daylight arranges the bird sounds across the green space. When visitors appear the whistling and chirping is replaced with a synthetic spectrum of sound based on the frequency and amplitude data of the original bird samples.
An algorithm predicts by means of regressive analysis the curves of wind and sun data. This is a statistical method not unlike the one used by financial trading algorithms which can output predictions for fluctuating values within microseconds; it's called hi-frequency trading or black-box trading. On the basis of this output the birds are regrouped. If all visitors have left or if they collectively stand still the realistic ambient sound will return.
Simultaneously, a network of micro stories circulates in a loop in electronic paper botanic displays, comparing definitions of common terms in the economic, political, or natural worlds such as growth, beauty, regeneration or time.
Next to the installation a literary Salon is organized on specific dates. In 2084, one or more guests (specialized in science, politics, economy or philosophy) are invited to debate and discuss two different visions of a near future (2020 and 2084) with the audience. In an informal atmosphere everyone is invited to ‘exercise and practice Utopia’, rather than be presented with a model, and to add suggestions and extra themes to the debate by imagining the impossible.
Team Concept and sound: Christoph De Boeck Concept and text: Patrícia Portela Electronics: Culture Crew Algorithm: Luis M. Russo Construction and design of display stands: Brian Rommens and João Gonçalves Production: Prado and deepblue – Ilse Joliet, Pedro Pires, Helena Serra Co-producers and partnerships: Maria Matos Teatro Municipal (Lisboa) | Kaaitheater (Brussel) | Festival Van Vlaanderen (Kortrijk) | Festival Escrita na Paisagem (Évora) | CML – Gabinete do Vereador Ricardo Sá Fernandes/Departamento de Manutenção de Espaços Verdes | Direcção Municipal de Ambiente e Higiene Urbana da CML | ZDB (Lisboa) | Verbeke Foundation (Kemzeke). Prado is structurally supported by Secretário de Estado da Cultura/Dgartes in Portugal and by the Portuguese Embassy in Belgium for this specific project | deepblue is structurally supported by the Flemish Authorities and VGC Brussels Thanks to: KASK, Kathy Steppe en Erik Moerman (Ugent Labo Plantecologie), Sara Barrios, Rewind Design, Engineer Vitor Vieira (Direcção Municipal de Ambiente Urbano), Engineer Fernando Leal dos Santos (Chefe de Divisão – Direcção Municipal de Ambiente Urbano), Sr. Jorge Almeida (coordenador de limpeza – DMAU), Engineer Helena Ramos (Divisão de Gestão e Manutenção do Parque Florestal de Monsanto), Graça Caldeira Ribeiro (Associação Colher para Semear), Nuno Dinis, Pieter Coussement