In Rhythm With Nature

October 2022 | By Google Arts & Culture Lab, Google Wellbeing Lab in collaboration with The International Arts + Mind Lab

Experience a moment of calm by connecting to the rhythm of nature. A digital wellbeing experiment, inspired by the Carl Linnaeus Flower Clock

This World Mental Health Day, we’d like to help people experience a moment of calm with the latest experiment from Google Arts & Culture Lab, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins International Arts + Mind Lab, and Google’s Wellbeing Lab.  

In Rhythm Of Nature is a digital wellbeing experience inspired by the Carl Linnaeus Flower Clock. Linneaus was a renowned 18th century botanist and taxonomist who developed a modern system to identify, name, and classify living things. His unique garden designs captured the natural circadian rhythms of different plants that would open and close their blooms in relation to the time of the day. 

In Rhythm With Nature aims to establish an intimate connection between humans and nature 
through a series of beautifully crafted breathing exercises timed by the flowers opening and closing. Essentially you are breathing with flowers that open according to your time of the day. 

As Johns Hopkins International Arts + Mind Lab describes the experiment: “Like our plant friends, humans also respond to changes in the environment through a circadian rhythm. This 24-hour internal clock seated in the brain helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. [...] Exposure to the natural world can boost our moods, lessen anxiety, promote physical activity, and even improve interactions with our neighbors [...] Biophilic design considers the restorative benefits of nature and incorporates nature experiences into our environment, both physical and virtual. That’s right—even simulations of nature, such as videos featuring natural landscapes or immersive VR experiences, have been shown to reduce physiological and psychological signs of stress. These virtual options make nature and its benefits more accessible when you can’t easily enjoy the great outdoors.” 

Artist Anna Glover has handcrafted the flower scenarios, which were later brought to life into a gaming engine, enabling users to interact and breathe with the flowers. The psychology of colors in the flower clock reflects people’s energy levels throughout the day. The soundscapes follow the Circle of Fifths, a way of organizing the 12 chromatic pitches as a sequence of perfect fifths, with a soothing effect on the mind. 

Experience a moment of calm, by connecting to the Rhythm Of Nature. You can also download In Rhythm With Nature Chrome extension as a reminder to simply take a moment a handful of times during the day to pause, and check in with your breath. As a bonus, check our In The Rhythm of Nature playlist on YouTube to find 13 videos on 1h meditation based on the experiment. 

Team: Aurora Straton, 1984 London, Anna Glover, Bastien Girschig, Gael Hugo

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