PULSE places audiences in the centre of a multi-sensory experience that’s controlled by the life force of trees. Through this project we aim to forge deep connections between people and our natural environment, raising questions around ecological conservation in the age of economic rationalism. The development of PULSE is being fed by a wide range of field trips (to the Amazon, Panama, Taiwan, remote Australia etc) where PluginHUMAN are collecting data from significant local trees and waterways.

The PULSE installation will feature the internal microscopic structure of significant international trees. This data will be enlarged and printed onto acrylic sculptural forms. The printed acrylic sculptures will be lit by full-colour programmable LED lights. The light show will be controlled by bio data collected from the significant international trees. This bio data will reflect the gas, movement, moisture and sounds from inside the trees. Audiences will be surrounded by environment-controlled audio, visuals and aromas in an immersive art encounter.

A mockup of the PULSE Installation.There will be nine trees constructed from transparent acrylic tubes. Three tubes will be 2m x 0.5m; two tubes will be 2m x 0.45m; two tubes will be 2m x 0.35m; two tubes will be 2m x 0.25m. Each tube will slot onto a 0.75m high tubular base that is bolted onto a square steel floor plate. The audio and aromatic components of the installation will be housed inside the trees. The final design will be created in collaboration with the curatorial teams. This installation can operate with or without the central sitting bench.


As a part of pre-production on PULSE, PluginHUMAN are collaborating with microscopy experts at RMIT University. Each tree will feature  photo-microscopy, an image that displays the enlarged internal detail of the tree. It is expected that at least one tree will be a eucalyptus and the imagery produced may look like the example below.

Example of photo-microscopy image.

In August 2019 PluginHUMAN will work alongside scientists from the National Institute of Amazonian Research. During this immersion field trip they will conduct a study and collect tree data from deep inside the Brazilian Amazon. This is a part of the LabVerde: Artist Immersion in the Amazon program.

In August 2019 PluginHUMAN are collaborating with international environmental digital artists as part of the Digital Naturalism Conference and the Digital Naturalism Artist Laboratory program in Panama. This will involve data collection, jungle-based field research, knowledge sharing and collaboration.

PluginHUMAN are Artists-in-Residence at the XGL research lab at RMIT University (Melbourne). The Lab are supplying PluginHUMAN with bio-sensing, microscopy, imaging an audio recording equipment. A member of the Lab is also collaborating with PluginHUMAN to write academic publications based on the new knowledge generated from this project.

PluginHUMAN are part of the development of Melbourne’s biggest urban forest: The Elsternwick Park Reserve. They are collaborating with environmental scientists from the Reserve’s organisation to record data from significant trees within this new urban forest. This includes collecting data from the offspring of Melbourne’s 400-year-old Separation Tree – a eucalyptus tree, with deep historical significance to both First Nations and early settler people, that was destroyed by vandals in 2015. Seeds from the separation tree were collected and the saplings will soon be planted in the Reserve. PluginHUMAN’s collaboration with the Reserve enables PUL$E to incorporate positive stories involving new urban forestation. PluginHUMAN’s collaboration with the Reserve is ongoing.

PluginHUMAN actively works towards the goal of carbon neutrality. We track the carbon output of each installation. In order to reduce our carbon imprint, we will use recyclable acrylic for this project. At the end of this installation, all of the electrical and sculptural components will be repurposed and reused in other projects or fully recycled.


PluginHUMAN Justin Dwyer & Betty Sargeant. Art, design, art-collective, design-studio, design-agency

PluginHUMAN – Justin Dwyer and Betty Sargeant on location at Lake Tyrell, Northern Victoria, 2018

PluginHUMAN is a multi-award winning art-technology duo foundered by Australian artists Dr Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer. They have exhibited in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. PluginHUMAN create immersive environments that provide audiences with hands-on interactive experiences. They have an acute understanding of the role that technology plays in contemporary society. Their progressive work places people in the centre of a human to digital encounter.

PluginHUMAN develop multi-sensory real-time artworks. They construct immersive environments and aim to bring about greater connections between people, nature and machines through playful design.

PluginHUMAN holds the creator-in-residence position at the Exertion Games Lab, Centre for Game Design Research, RMIT University, Australia. They won a Good Design Award (2018) and a Victorian Premier’s Design Award (2017). They have created commissioned artworks for institutions such as the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), the Asia Culture Centre (South Korea), the Act Festival (South Korea), the C-Lab (Taiwan) and Questacon (Australia’s National Science and Technology Museum).

For more details visit:  www.pluginhuman.com/cv


Dr Betty Sargeant: Creative director – laser cutting design,  laser cutting, microscopic imaging, image management and post production, acrylic printing manager, field recording artist, bio-sensing recording lead, structural design and engineering, audience flow and experience design.

Justin Dwyer: Creative director – TouchDesigner programmer, AbletonLive designer, field recording artist, bio-sensing recording, overall digital system management.

Andrew Ogburn: Composer – music composition, treatment of field recordings, audio mixing, mastering.

Dr Andrea Rassell: Microscopy adviser – microscopy training, advice, assistance.

Kent MacPherson: Biological audio recording adviser – equipment and technical advise and assistance.

Bob Gervais: Programmer – additional Arduino programming as required.

Professor Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller: Additional project advisor.

Rakesh Patibanda: Research assistant – participant study manager, academic publication lead.

Coco Dwyer: Youth intern – administration and social media tasks.