As a keen, but amateur field recordist, I was excited to see an exhibition advertised at Brooklyn Botanic Garden called Sonic Succulents. Created by Los Angeles–based Adrienne Adar it promised handmade sensors would amplify familiar plants so we could hear them through gentle touch and sound. So excited was I that I dragged my partner, my radio producer friend and his mum along.
The first room had headphones next to a range of plants, a fair few of them cactuses. There was a lot of hiss to hear, and not much else. You could hear something if you pinged the spikes of the plants, or tapped them, but you couldn’t really hear much else.
Similarly we strained our ears to hear corn growing through large yellow cones and failed. Farmers apparently have said they could hear this without the cones. Regardless it was a quite an underwhelming exhibition all round, redeemed only partially by the delicious elderflower served in the cafe.