SPORE 1.1

Credit:
Doug Easterly, Matt Kenyon

Exhibited:
First place VIDA 7.0 Madrid Spain

Spore 1.1 is a self-sustaining ecosystem for a rubber tree plant purchased at Home Depot. In this project, Home Depot is responsible for the plant in two ways: first, an unconditional guarantee to replace any plant they sell, for up to one year; second through an implied cybernetic contract. This second responsibility is the creative content for the work, where the economic health of Home Depot is transitioned through a series of physical computing techniques to a mechanism for controlling the watering of the rubber tree.

An onboard computer uses a Wi-Fi connection to access Home Depot stock quotes once per week, keeping a database of the week’s ending stock values. From the fluctuations in Home Depot stock, programs and circuitry connected to the rubber tree are controlled accordingly. If the company does well by showing stock growth, so does the plant – if the company suffers losses, Spore 1.1 does not get watered. If the plant should parish, due to poor stock performance, it is returned to the Home Depot and replaced with another-at no additional cost.