Sketch of a Field of Grass

Sketch of a Field of Grass, by Ryan Wolfe, is a landscape of robotic grass that encapsulates the experience of watching the rise and fall of a summer breeze across a field. Just as in a real field, every single blade responds to the wind in a slightly different way.


The real challenge of the installation was to realize it as a collection of decentralized computers rather than as a monolithic computer controlling a network of sensors and actuators, the individual response each node has to its surroundings being a key element of the work. Individual blades of grass are computationally autonomous, they sense and respond to local environment independently. Each one is both physically distinct and simultaneously part of a larger aggregate phenomenon.

A networking protocol propagates wind data down the network, blade by blade.

In the grass: Translator II: Grower, a grass-drawing robot; Grass field on wheels.