• A photograph of Motherplant by Alexander Savvas
  • A photograph of Motherplant by Alexander Savvas

Commissioned by Waking Life Festival, and motivated by the theme of languageWhat was realised was an out-of-this-world Motherplant, a meld of nature and technology. A site-specific, interactive installation that stands 6 meters tall and communicates with its surroundings.

Woven from an invasive species of silver wattle - which devastates the native flora in Portugal - Motherplant, is embedded with an LED light system inspired by the electrical spike-based language fungi use to communicate. Pulses of light that mimic the beat of a human heart travel downward from its buds moving through the stems and into the ground beneath its exposed roots. These exposed roots form alcoves where people can congregate and experience the cathartic effects of the work. 

In the heart of the trunk is a cave which allowed a small group of people to enter it. Infrared sensors within the cave pick up people's presence setting in motion an evolution of the colour, intensity and overall behaviour of the light pulses, and in turn, the way in which it communicates with its surroundings.     

Materials: Acacia dealbata, LEDs, silicone 


Creator: Alexander Savvas

Technology Development: Gabriel Leroux

Contributors: David Milner, Melo Soares

Images: Alexandru Ponoran, Pilar Poyatos