• 07.06.11

Watch The Waves Of Alaska, Thousands Of Miles Away

A sculpture that moves based on transmitted data about wave height is a technological marvel, but also asks deeper questions about how we relate to the natural world.

Living in cities, far removed from things like oceans and forests, we can become a little disconnected from the natural world. But with a little help from robotics and the internet, maybe we can bring a little nature into our urban places.


That’s what Tele-presence Water–a sculpture by David Bowen currently installed in The National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland–does. It’s fed information about the wave patterns in Alaska from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s data buoy station 46246, and then it replicates them while suspended above the musem’s floor:

It’s mesmerizing to watch, and not just because it’s a floating mass of undulating yellow tubes. The incongruity of the organic water motions contrasted with the modern construction of the museum makes you stop for a moment and question your relationship to nature, even if only for a second.

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Ideas section, formerly