Sentient Testbed

By Philip Beesley, Katy Börner, Andreas Bueckle, Miggy Torres

Living Architecture Systems Group

Amatria is a 2016 sculpture authored by the Living Architecture Systems Group located within Indiana University, Bloomington Indiana USA. This folio provides an overview of the technical organization of Amatria. 

Amatria is a permanent sculpture offering a delicate quilt-like overhead canopy composed of hundreds of thousands of custom-made transparent components. The experimental research foregrounding this permanent testbed sculpture asks: what if buildings could know us, communicate with us us and care about us? This is an experimental testbed where features will naturally evolve, and existing additional electronic hardware, software and physical features are available for further development.

Amatria, hanging above the stairs in the 4th floor atrium of Indiana University’s Luddy Hall, invites visitors into an interactive, ethereal space. Soaring clouds and tangled thickets of 3D-printed formations are embedded with artificial intelligence that produces waves of constantly-changing sound, whispering and calling in response to the movements of viewers. By merging lighting and motion sensors with atmospheric sounds, this “living” sculpture breathes, undulates and shifts in response to the movements of visitors. Expanding the interpretation of the project, Indiana University students and faculty designed custom data visualizations mapping Amatria’s sensor and actuator types, their positions, communication flows and complex behaviors unfolding over time.