Thirstea is a tea plant-social bot that feeds on the attention it gets on social media.
A collaboration with Zhang Zhan. Video courtsey of Zhang Zhan.
The installation is made up of a tea tree plant and an irrigation system that is hooked to a Twitter bot and a webcam. The twitter bot will tweet about the growth of the plant every day, with occasional photos of the plant. Every day the irrigation system checks if the Twitter bot gets new followers, and the plant will only be watered if the number of new followers each hour reaches a certain threshold, therefore making the plant essentially living on the attention it manages to attract.
Thirstea is envisioned as both a social commentary on the attention-seeking behaviour on social media and a social experiment to see how many followers we can get / how long the tree can live off social media attention.
Note: the installation is currently deactivated.