Thirstea is a tea tree-social media bot that survives on the amount of attention it manages to attract on Twitter.
A collaboration with Zhang Zhan. Video courtsey of Zhang Zhan.
A tea tree plant is connected to an irrigation system that is hooked to a Twitter bot and a webcam. The twitter bot tweets about the growth of the plant on a frequent interval, 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 day reaches a certain threshold, therefore making the plant essentially living on the amount of attention it manages to attract.
We envisioned Thristea 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.