Faculty member creates plant communications exhibit for annual Free City Festival in Flint

Dr. Jim Cohen, professor of Applied Biology, will have an exhibit on display at the fifth annual Free City Festival from August 18-19 at Chevy Commons in Flint.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Ecology and Technology.” Cohen’s exhibit is titled “Plant Communication, Personified” and will consist of pre-recorded conversations between plants. The purpose of the presentation is to demonstrate complexity and nuance of plant communications.  

“We, as humans, frequently aren't able to observe the ways in which plants communicate with each other and with other species, such as bacteria, fungi, and multiple species of animals,” Cohen said. “Part of this has to do with the timeline and manners in which plants communicate with each other, other organisms, and the environment.”

The festival will feature collaborations between artists, designers, scientists, ecologists, and engineers that explore environmental remediation, interactive installations, citizen science, organizing tools, wearable technology, DIY robotics, and other emerging fields at the intersection of art, ecology, and technology.

The purpose of Cohen’s exhibit specifically is to demonstrate that plants do, in fact, communicate, and to illustrate their intricate challenges in an urban environment.

The festival will be open from 5 p.m. to Midnight on August 18 and 19 and is free to the public.

Click here for more information about the 2017 Festival.

Follow Jim Cohen on Twitter at @botanicohen and listen to his podcast, Flint Flora.