Kingdom of Weeds proposes to reconfigure the relationship between humans and weeds through research and design experiments. Weeds are defined by their unintentional growth on cultivated land. They are symbols of the anthropocene, an era in which humans impose order and hierarchy on a naturally decentralised, dynamic system. The project gives attention to these unwanted plants and encourages an understanding of the impact humans have on the natural world. The project culminated in an installation at the London Design Festival, and a website documenting our work.
The installation invited visitors to gather around a rotating weed and listen to a meditative soundscape generated from the shape of its leaves. The leaves of the weed were scanned, traced and transposed via the Processing development environment to produce a numerical representation of their contours. This data was then reinterpreted as an acoustic waveform and stored as a .wav file, using the NumPy and Wave packages of the Python programming language. As the weed rotates on the platform, its leaves fade in and out of the soundscape depending on their location relative to the listener. The ritualistic setting elevates the weed from its lowly cultural position and allows participants to empathize with the plant itself, bringing awareness to their own interconnectedness with other forms of life.