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90-foot 'Patterned by Nature' installation is low-res, high-impact

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Patterned by Nature is a 90-foot installation that displays low-resolution natural patterns on panels of LCD glass. The installation is housed in the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

patterned by nature
patterned by nature

What better way to decorate the new Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences than by snaking a gigantic LCD glass ribbon through its five-story atrium? At 90 feet long and 10 feet wide, the installation — titled Patterned by Nature — is composed of 3,600 sandwiches of LCD glass. That sounds like a lot until you realize it only displays one dot per pane, or about 1.5 times the number of dots found on an original Game Boy screen. The huge display cycles through clips of 20 patterns found in nature, ranging from flying birds to strobing cuttlefish skin, which are rendered using a combination of mathematical modeling and actual footage. Two high-resolution screens displaying relevant information and an eight-channel soundtrack complete the installation built by Plebian Design, Hypersonic Design & Engineering, and Sosolimited.

It sounds strange, but the low resolution works really well to communicate the patterns, letting you focus on the bigger picture without getting caught up in high-definition details. Also, because there's no backlight the entire display runs on a mere 75 watts — about what it takes to power a laptop. The end result is remarkable — take a look below and see for yourself.