Claire Coté


Sounds of Dispersal

dis·per·sal noun

  1. the distribution or scattering of people or things over an area
  2. the natural distribution of plant seeds and the offspring of non-mobile organisms over a wide area by various methods
  3. the movement of organisms away from their place of birth, parent plant or centers of population density

sound noun

  1. vibrations traveling through air, water, or some other medium, especially those within the range of frequencies that can be perceived by the ear
  2. the sensation produced in the ear by vibrations traveling through air, water, or some other medium

We often rely on our eyes to observe the beautiful forms, textures and colors of different plants and seeds. But what about our other senses – touch, smell taste and hearing? What if we listened to the life cycle of seeds?

“Sounds of Dispersal” explores the four main modes of seed dispersal, gravity, wind, water and animals, as well as the less common modes, fire and ballistic release. Within this abstract collage, sounds of dispersal recorded from various locations around the world are woven into a loosely structured conversation of elements and players in the beautiful process of sees dispersal.

Medium: Collected sound collage

Listen to “Sounds of Dispersal

Detail from the Bio-mimicry scroll

Seed Biomimcry Scroll

In West Bengal, India there is a tradition of musical storytelling with illustrated scrolls painted by artists called Patua or Chitrakar, “Picture Maker.”

Patua art is dynamic and informative and Patua-Makers adapt their work to changing times and topics. The “Seed Biomimicry Scroll” is my version of a Patua scroll, which tells two biomimetic stories of seeds.

Biomimicry, or biomimetics, use the emulation of Nature’s patterns and strategies to find solutions for human challenges in order to create innovative products, processes, and policies that both address these challenges and are sustainable and well-adapted to life on earth.

The two illustrated series on this scroll are imaginative representations of current research topics in the field of biomimcry: smart-fabrics, inspired by pinecones and nontoxic antifouling strategies for ships and harbors, inspired by palm seeds.

The smart-fabric jumpsuit adapts to changing temperatures by opening up microscopic flaps when warm and shutting them tight when the wearer cools off, just like a pinecone’s scales do in nature. The palm seed morphed ship represents research to develop a new nontoxic antifouling surface based on seeds from a palm tree. The new surface would replace the toxic paints used on ships and harbors to keep them free from barnacles.

The “Seed Biomimcry Scroll” is a score to help inspire new stories of biomimetics in our world today. If you feel inspired to sing its story, please don’t let anyone stop you!

Please turn the scroll gently.

Special thanks to Chris Coté for his support and superior carpentry skills and to Tim and Connie Long for the use of their wonderful woodworking shop.

Operation of the Bio-mimicry scroll
Operation of the Bio-mimicry scroll while installed at the Dairy ARTS Center

Medium: Pen and ink drawings printed on fabric, pine wood frame, rolling pins and hardware installed with 8 original interpretive drawings of biomimicry research

Claire Coté