Nature Animated

“From water waves to light waves, the same patterns emerge across all scales of space and time,” writes Sosolimited and Plebian Design, who created Patterned by Nature, a wonderful installation for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Natural Research Center in Raleigh. An animated “scupltural ribbon” weaves through the museum’s plaza. Sequences flow through migrating small birds to a flock of noisy geese. Drops of water transform into ocean waves, and then, beneath the waves, we see the pulsating skin of a cuttlefish. The museum writes: “The exhibit celebrates our abstraction of nature’s infinite complexity into patterns through the scientific process and through our perceptions.”

The ribbon, which is about 90 feet long and 10 feet wide, winds itself through a 5-story atrium. The installation is made up of 3,600 LCD glass tiles. Amazingly, the whole thing runs on 75 watts, about the same amount of energy needed to power a laptop. 

While the clip above shows just a few snippets of the full animation, there are actually twenty sequences. According to the museum and design team, these range from “clouds to rain drops to colonies of bacteria to flocking birds to geese to cuttlefish skin to pulsating black holes.” Real footage of nature and “algorithmic software modeling of natural phenomena” were used to create the fascinating visuals. There are also eight different soundtracks, corresponding to different parts of nature. 

For another, perhaps somewhat more disturbing animation of nature, see a project by Ivan Henriques and Professor Bert van Duijn from the Netherlands’ Leiden University. Fast Company says Mimosa pudica isone of the few plants in the world that can sense touch stimulus and move its leaves immediately in response.” Henriques, with the help of the professor, “upgraded the plant’s responsiveness with the capabilities of a motorized wheelchair.”

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