Sentient Forest

SWARM exhibition, Science Gallery Melbourne, 2022

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Bompas & Parr has collaborated with Assoc Prof Monica Gagliano, Dr Claire Farrell and the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at University of Melbourne, to conceptualise and create Sentient Forest, an installation for Science Gallery Melbourne’s SWARM exhibition, which explores interspecies connectivity.

Visitors will encounter some curious roving Tree-Bots - these bio-synthetic entities are programmed to behave like a pack of animals. Each Tree-Bot moves independently but shares the same central brain; therefore, instead of acting in isolation, the bots have intertwined behaviours that ripple through the group.

Plants do not possess brains or neurones; consequently, we may not believe they are intelligent beings. However, they have complex behaviours such as information acquisition, memory, learning, decision making and potentially swarm intelligence through their roots.

Pick up the headphones at one of our forest listening stations to hear a soundscape exploring tree communication and bioacoustics as you immerse yourself in the smells of the forest through our specially curated scents.