A seamless blend of art, science, nature and technology, this sculptural installation for the new Nature Research Center, a part of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, is an absolute stunner.
The piece, a collaboration among engineers, artists and designers, explores the “abstraction of nature’s infinite complexity into patterns through the scientific process, and through our perceptions. It brings to light the similarity of patterns in our universe, across all scales of space and time.”
A “ribbon” made of 3,600 tiles of LCD glass 10 feet wide and 90 feet long, the sculpture winds through the five-story atrium of the research center. Animations are created by varying the transparency of each piece of glass.
A program of twenty patterns plays continuously on the tiles, ranging from clouds to rain to colonies of bacteria to flocking birds to cuttlefish skin to pulsating black holes. The programs were created through a combination of software modeling of natural phenomena and actual footage. A soundtrack accompanies the animations on the ribbon, giving visitors clues to the identity of the pixellated movements. In addition, two screens show high-resolution imagery and text revealing the content on the ribbon at any moment.
The video is well worth your four minutes. I can’t wait to go to North Carolina for Science Online 2013 and see it in person.