[Play/Plant It Yourself]

PIY [Play/Plant It Yourself], a sound installation conceived by Melodie Melak and Brian Kiel for the Festival für SelbstgebauteMusik.

Each PIY device is designed to be plugged into plants to produce sound. The circuits inside of the devices consist of 2 plant-oscillators, a low-pass filter and an amplification with 3 headphone-jacks.

The guests of the festival are invited to play with a single iteration of the devices Melodie Melak uses for her live performance.
Watch the short user-manual-video HERE


How does it work?
[Definition of an oscillator taken from isotope.com]
Oscillators are the basic components of a synth sound. They output repeating waveforms that can be modified using three main controls:
    •    Frequency: the speed at which a waveform completes one cycle of its pattern, measured in Hertz (Hz) and perceived as either low or high pitch
    •    Amplitude: how loud the sound is leaving the oscillator, measured in decibels (dB).
    •    Waveshape: what a waveform actually sounds like. There are four main shapes: sine, sawtooth, square, and triangle.


In the PIY, the oscillating circuits inside each box produce square waves when connected to a plant leaf or stem and the plants control the frequency. The plant’s natural defense reacts to the small amount of electricity traveling through its leaves as though an animal is chewing on it.  The plant produces enzymes that make the leaves bitter and acidic to the animal.  Those enzymes also change the resistance in the circuit which modulates the frequency. Each plant will have different levels of strength and speed to its reaction.

To play the plant yourself, take a set of twisted wires coming out of the boxes and pierce them through the leaves of the plants as shown in the picture. Try various plants, try putting the 2 wires of one oscillator in the same leave, try putting them in different leaves of the same plant.

Have fun !

Camellia's clamors / A cup of noise

The sound installation Camellia's clamors / A cup of noise is a sonic exploration of how one element, a plant, can lead to various out comes, and how two elements, noise and the Camellia Sinensis, can work hand in hand to give meaning to one another.
At the center of the sound installation, Camellia's clamors is a short composition of sounds generated through the use of oscillators by a Camellia Sinensis, the plant used to produce tea. Bringing forth various noise pieces, the composition narrates anecdotes of the life of the Camellia from the plant's point of view.

Camellia's clamors / A cup of noise is a still in the life of the plant in its journey towards your mouth and your ears.


This sound installation was presented at ITO from June 17th til July 28th 2017
Conception: Mélodie Melak / Realization: Mélodie Melak & Brian Kiel
Comissioned by ITO (Stuttgart, Germany), kindly supported by the city of Stuttgart

Move nimbly with light rapid steps

FILTER III - Sound art series
A collaboration initiated by Jessica Ekomane with Mélodie Melak and Silje Nes
FILTER is a new series on conceptual sound art by Zona Dynamic. Each edition is a temporary collaboration between 3 artists channeled into a one-night sound scene.


“Move nimbly with light rapid steps” is a reactive sound installation – a territory of permanent feedback, a state of perpetual tension and saturation.
The audience enters the room as a disruptive element. Each move is captured and amplified, thereby creating a signal that both nurtures and impedes the feedback loop.
When the crowd as a whole ceases to create movement, the feedback returns to its original form. Each member of the audience holds an equal influence on the regulation of the feedback loop, which makes them part of a collaborative process and a collective effort to resist instability.


The installation was presented ausland, Berlin on Sunday 24. January 2016 between 18 and 22h.

A Conversation Piece with Plants

A Concert-Installation from Gretchen Sigrid Blegen, Christina Ertl-Shirley and Mélodie Melak presented at Casa da Musica, Porto (PT) on February 10th 2015


Language is defined as a medium of speech amongst humans. It belongs not only to thought, but also to the body and in this regards language belongs to nature – in principle. In the everyday, language is used and abandoned – speech becomes a reflection of the self in the larger body of society and language becomes a tool to some, a form of expression to others. Yet, how does conversation continue beyond verbal words within the context of our everyday surroundings?
A Conversation Piece with Plants is a collaborative research project into the sounds, gestures, communication methods and discussions of plants within and surrounding the area of Porto, Portugal. Looking outside of the rules of grammar and a language limited by words, this piece builds an environmental discourse based on sounds and interpretation. Using electromagnetic frequencies, self-built oscillators and a sensitivity to mise-en-scène, the piece unfolds not only a sensory perception of audio and visuals to the inherent nature of plants, but reveals a dialogue of a different category.


A Conversation Piece with Plants exists as part of a cultural exchange between Sonoscopia in Porto, Portugal and ausland in Berlin, Germany taking place in February and June of 2015.
This project was kindly supported by the Berlin Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs Department.