With the understanding that we are a part of an interconnected and interdependent planetary eco-system, contemporary human culture slowly moves from a culture of consumption and segregation to a culture of participation, integration and generation. Our technological inquiry, into the minutae of molecules, atoms and bits, is reaching the limits of rational reductionism and rediscovering the robust beauty of growth and interdependence in complex systems â€“ from food to fabrics, from genetics to global networks. We are beginning to see design which aims to produce and recycle, rather than relentlessly consume resources and deplete energy. We suggest that these changes in contemporary culture, economy and technology are beginning to resonate with the characteristics of our close neighbours in the domain of eukarya - the plants.
As a botanical parallel to the oft misunderstood field of HCI - Human Computer Interaction, HPI - Human Plant Interaction, explores the nature of surfaces and processes required to facilitate mutually beneficial interaction between humans and plants. HPI necessarily takes a symbiotic approach, being shaped by the questions it poses, such as; how can this two-way interface be realised? What assumptions are we making with regards to how we understand humans and plants? Do we need individual, specialised interfaces for each species, language or alkaloid, or are there more general approaches? Where, or what is the point of contact between the humans and plants? How do we make the transition from machinic to organic? From boolean logic systems to systemic ecologic? How does the nature of time, place and metabolic byproducts differ on each side of these interfaces? Are they reconcilable, or even mutually explicable? Communication, or pollination?
An HPI could reveal possible futures where interactions between humans and plants move from consumption, nutrition and competition, towards a fertile, symbiotic entanglement.