In Coral Short’s workshop Floral Sleep, people practiced listening very closely to sounds made by branches, flowers, and other natural objects. They then experimented with the plants themselves, making sounds to share with the rest of the group.

You can do the same thing at home; with the prompts below, explore the sounds made by the objects around you:

Think about a sound that reminds you of a place where you feel happy. Maybe it’s the hum of a refrigerator, the clickety-clack of computer keys, the buzzing of bugs at night, the crackle of firewood.

What other sounds do you identify with this place? Are the sounds you hear downtown, outside in your neighborhood, and outside of the city different?

Pause for several seconds where you are and listen closely to the different sounds you hear.

Try describing the sounds. How does each sound make you feel? Is it pretty, annoying, stressful, relaxing?

Find several objects around your home and use them to make sounds. Suggestions: aluminum foil, a baking sheet, brushes, a piece of paper, a plastic bag, a ring of keys, sponges, a towel. You can use just about anything! Try brushing or rubbing objects against one another.
What do you hear? Do any of the sounds remind you of noises you’ve heard outdoors? Which sounds do you like? Which sounds do you not like? Why?

Pick an object that makes a quiet noise, and try listening to it very close to your ears.
How does it feel?

Partner up with a family member. Have your partner lie down somewhere quiet and comfortable, closing their eyes if they wish. Pick objects that make gentle noises you like. Carefully experiment with different ways of using the objects to make sounds, including right next to your partner’s ears and around their head.
Ask them how the sounds make them feel. Do they like the same sounds as you?

Meet the artist !


Hear more from the artist Coral Short and their assistant Lari Jalbert in this interview with the XX Files. They talk about plants, playfulness, healing and more, and at 15:40 you’ll find a suggestion from the artist to try their workshop activities in your living room!


Learn more

  • Coral Short's Floral Sleep project page
  • 2020FOR32018O | Gallery
    Photos of Coral Short’s relaxation session and exploration of sounds emitted by nature, Floral Sleep, presented in a version for children and parents on January 26th, 2020 at Studio XX. Participants also had the opportunity to record plant sounds with members of the XX Files team
  • 2020FOR32020O | Gallery
    Photos of Coral Short’s relaxation session and exploration of sounds emitted by nature, Floral Sleep, presented on January 25th, 2020 at Studio XX


Each week, explore projects from our archives through two series of conversation starters and DIY experiments. Our series for families introduces projects which help us imagine new ways of being together and being at home during this period of physical distancing, with activities to try and questions to ask each other. Our series for the general public brings together projects from our archives which have explored various kinds of intimate ecologies, and prompts reflection and conversation to nourish our collective imagination.