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When the rubber tree makes the rhythm

The family center MüZe-Süd opens its creative space with the electronic musician Karel Hacker and sounding potted plants. Future ideas for the city district are to be created here.

Stuttgart - yikes, what is that? Anyone who walks past Kreativraum-Süd at Böblinger Straße 44 in the next three weeks will first be irritated and then, hopefully, positively astonished: A shop window full of houseplants greets passers-by with the sounds of their own energy flows. Behind it is an art performance by electronic music specialist Karel Hacker. Just in time for the beginning of spring on March 20, Hacker electronically overheard the 36 houseplants from different households under the motto "Listen: When plants start talking" and produced a sound carpet that now sounds outward for three weeks when someone walks by.

Music from electricity in the leaves

He taps some of the leaves of the singing and chattering plants with sensors and Hacker directs the electrical currents generated by the potted plants to his synthesizer via a special module. This makes the currents audible. It is amazing how wide the acoustic spectrum of the plants is and also amazing what Hacker does with his electronic possibilities: As in a band, he lets Dieffenbachie play the bass, and Aralie does the special effects with a squeaky sound. Hacker takes care of the reverb and also of how the streams ultimately become music: “For example, I could make it sound like a harp,” he explains. "As a living being, the plant brings something completely unexpected into electronic music."

What sounds so simple is a remarkable high-tech staging in which countless cables, buttons, switches and controls are involved. Hacker processes the sonic material that botany offers him. Everything is a coincidence. “What I'm doing here at the moment will never be heard again in this form,” he says. It cannot be repeated, the sound sequences only exist as a preserve. During the performance, a curious audience cavorted in front of the shop window, and a baby was rhythmically calmed down to the sound of plants. Only guests who had previously booked a time slot were allowed into the sound laboratory to the master, who was dressed in jeans with a floral pattern and even in flowery socks.

Plants at the casting

Large and small, well-tended and dusty plants, those in beautiful planters and those entirely without - their indoor plants are as varied as the residents of the city district in the shop window, in which noble chronographs used to be. Not everyone is connected to the module, it's like a casting: “Stable plants produce more electricity,” explains Hacker. Tender papers have little chance of making an appearance. However, they will all draw attention to the sound project until April 6th, well looked after: Listening, listening, also paying attention to the quiet sounds in the district, that is the deeper meaning behind the action, explains concept artist Uta Weyrich.

Together with Barbara Bansbach from the MüZe-Süd family center, she designed the concept for the creative space in the former watch shop. According to Hacker's plant music, there will be ongoing activities here that have something to do with developments in the city district: The Rampe theater is already involved. People, ideas and solutions should be brought together here. "We want to focus on other living environments and listen to people's stories," says Bansbach. This also includes mothers and children, who have the space to be creative here. “But it won't be a new MüZe,” emphasize the makers. "Just as the most diverse indoor plants are currently standing together here and doing something together - this is how people should do it in the future."

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