Ecomimesis is a dynamic, virtual reality (VR) environment containing animated virtual plants responsive to viewer action. The goal of the project is to use VR tools to collapse conventional distinctions between inside/outside, natural/cultural, and human/non-human to explore inter-species connections between plants and humans. The species used in the animation is Erigeron canadensis, a common urban ‘weed’ chosen for its prevalence in human crafted landscapes. At the same time, this plant is often 'invisible' to most people as they choose to ignore such so-called nuisance species. Ecomimesis is inspired in part by a lesser-known text by Charles Darwin, The Power of Movement in Plants, in which Darwin documents his observations of how various plant species move as they grow. Darwin’s research laid the foundation for more recent research into the subject of “plant intelligence:” the study of the myriad ways that plants sense and respond to immediate environment. The title Ecomimesis is a term borrowed from the writings of philosopher Timothy Morton and signifies an acknowledgment of human entanglement within nature.

Ecomimesis, still image from VR animation, created with the Imaging Research Center, University of Maryland Baltimore County (click here to see sample of VR animation)

Ecomimesis, still image from VR animation, created with the Imaging Research Center, University of Maryland Baltimore County (click here to see sample of VR animation)