in Micro-Project

The Telegarden Review

The Telegarden – Directed by both Ken and Joseph, is a telerobotic garden displayed through an online platform that acquiesces users to interact and connect with the garden. Inspired mainly by the internet, through a small screen, one will see what looks like an industrial robotic arm who takes your biddings.

The interaction is a mash of old technology versus the new – in other words, it means saying goodbye to the traditional agricultural style of plantation where farmers are required to keep an eye on their plant 24/7. Imagine, observing your biennials through the eye of a camera. Its main aim was to foster a strong sense of social interaction and community through intercommunication in the virtual space.

Now, it might not seem like much judging from the advancement of our technology in the current era, but back in the 1990s where internet practices were considered scarce and remote, this is the project is a quantum leap.

The art installation took it preceding commencement over at the University of Southern California. The directors of this project anticipated a challenge to the notion of the internet and post-nomadic community, where the continuance of life is highly dependable on teamwork/synergism.

Over the years of its launch, over 9000 participants were involved in this cultivation project. It was then the location of the installation took a switch and moved from online to live – lobby of Ars Electronica Centre in Austria.

In retrospect, K.Goldberg’s conception on allowing multiple people on control to contribute to online streaming will always remain relevant and tantalizing.

  1. Good research! You captured much of the intent of the artist Ken Goldberg in creating a new form of gardening at a distance through what is called “telepresence,” meaning being present at a distance. I am curious if you think that Goldberg was attempting to forecast a new kind of gardening technique, or whether there is a certain irony here that with the Internet we have come to distance ourselves from nature and gardening. I would also urge you to consider how this work fits into our study of the “collective narrative.” Given that Telegarden is essentially an online community garden, which tend to be very social in nature, how he transposed in this work the collective nature of the community garden to the Internet. Of course, the use of chat is an important ingredient of that.