Malta architect William Bondin has come up with a prototype sculpture that could turn public art into malleable, moving “organisms” that respond to their environment as they change shape and position. The scaffolding-like structures would use solar energy to power light and moisture sensors that would help guide the structures as they changed position — a concept that is both delightful and unnerving.
Called Morphs (Mobile Reconfigurable Polyhedra), Bondin’s sculptures were inspired by the slightly less than beautiful slime mold Physarum polycephalum. The slowly crawling structures will look for light (to power the solar cells) and water (which they want to avoid), and seek areas with high pedestrian traffic.
“This ensures a higher probability of engagement with the public, and they stay clear of vehicular roads due to their very slow movements,” Bondin told Wired. “They are also terrified of water and do not operate in wet conditions, in order to protect their electronics.”
Bondin is testing a small scale prototype made of tetrahedral trusses and telescopic edges, and hopes to make full-scale models soon. By 2015, he hopes to have some installed in public parks. You can learn more about the challenges of simulating and prototyping these architectural systems here.