Genetic engineering is a topic of heated debate in environmental circles, but it is by no means a thoroughly modern subject. Selective breeding has been used for thousands of years to give us plants and animals with the most desirable characteristics, whatever those may be at the time. London artist David Benque wants to take this selective breeding to a whole new place with his conceptual “Acoustic Botany” project.
Benque’s vision is to create a garden full of delightful nature sounds. But rather than relying on luck or chance to produce these sounds, Benque’s garden would use science. Selective breeding would allow only the most pleasant-sounding plants to breed and thrive, thus producing ever more elegant sounds from this most unusual of natural spaces.
Plants and insects in the acoustic garden are prized for the sounds they make: Singing Flowers, String Nuts, and even agrobacteria that produce harmonious gas sounds are cultivated and nurtured. Bugs are engineered to chew in rhythm and trees are grafted to produce a specific combination of sounds.
Plants grown in the acoustic garden are tested for their specific desired qualities and modulated in the lab to produce an ideal sound. As heard in the video above, the resulting sounds are both entirely organic-sounding and incredibly haunting.
Although this garden is a fictional product, there isn’t much standing in the way of making it actually happen. After all, we have been modifying fruits and vegetables almost since the beginning of agriculture to produce the most desirable-looking crops, so why not extend the practice to the most pleasant sounding plants as well?