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Resurrecting 45 Roses of Jericho with an installation monitoring visitors

Zoe RomanoJune 27th, 2013


“Anastatica sensibile” is an installation created to study around natural processes as medium for interactivity. It was designed last year by the italian artist Daniela Di Maro in collaboration with the Software Architecture Laboratory of Milan.

The installation has been conceived around the properties of a specific plant species, the Rose of Jericho (Selaginella Lepidophylla): a desert plant known for its ability to survive in almost complete drought conditions.

During dry weather in its native habitat, its stems curl into a tight ball looking like a bare root, but after watering it, it turns green in about one day and that’s why some call it “resurrection plant”.


The installation irrigates  45 Roses of Jericho controlling them with an interactive system that monitors the number of people around the installation and activates watering according to it:

When the number significantly increases, one plant is randomly selected: the LED of the selected plant blinks for ten seconds. When a plant has been selected for a certain number of times, the digital system irrigates the plant and its LED is turned on […] An irrigated plant is excluded by the selection process for about four days, a time sufficient for the plant to regenerate itself and then to return in the “closed” state because
of the absence of water.



Two electronic control units  manage forty five LEDs and forty-five electro-valves, using an Arduino Mega microcontroller each, plus a specific, self-made Printed Circuit Board.



You can read the specifics of the project on this PDF hosted on the project page in the Bicocca Open Archive.