Timber, opal diffuser, steel, copper, addressable LEDs, arduino, laptops, speakers.
‘Robotanic’ reminds us that in a world dominated by technology we should still take the time to tune our senses to nature. The interactive installation, as part of VIVID 2015, replicates the experience of a botanical garden and invites the audience to wander through and reconnect with the essence of the natural world. The garden contains a series of organically shaped nodes with plant-like characteristics; they vary in height and shape and appear to grow from the ground. Constructed mainly from timber, they take on strange yet somehow familiar forms and they are in stark contrast to the rigidity of the surrounding cityscape. The work symbiotically communicates a balance between what is ‘natural’ and what is manufactured; whilst we can never return to a life without technology, it should not become all-consuming. The sound design immerses the viewers in a soundscape reminiscent of a native Australian environment, a dream-like quality which is enhanced by the brightness and modality of the LED strips pulsating up the ‘trunk’ of the sculpture. People interact with the helical structures by touching a thin strip of copper which also serves an aesthetic purpose, highlighting the timber with a metallic sheen. When touched, the nodes produce an erratic display of light and sound as if they are coming to life.