Sentinel is a networked art object that transmits temperature, humidity, and proximity data over an MQTT network and produces the sounds of the forest until falling silent upon one’s approach. The volume of the forest ambience is modulated by both an ultrasonic range sensor that detects the proximity of onlookers, as well as data from the MQTT network (generated by fellow artist Natalie Shupe’s Friendly Mushroom project) representing mycelial nutrients in the forest. The piece seeks to confront notions of nature as decoration, restoring and extending our awareness of plants as sentient beings with an agency of their own.

The flower on the plinth links this work to yet another project, Ashley Lowes’ BEE, an RFID-based portable work designed to travel around the exhibition ‘pollinating’ flowers by scanning them and transmitting their respective IDs over the network.

This project was designed for Professor Steve Daniels‘ RTA958 Networked Art course.