Light & Sound Sculpture
Fireflies is a large-scale sound and light sculpture that simulates the emergent behaviour of synchronous fireflies. Throughout nature, masses of relatively simple elements can self-organise into behaviours that seem unexpectedly complex.
The fireflies unison flashing is a mesmerising manifestation of order emerging without the instructions of a leader. Fireflies creates an astounding experience by using an algorithm to mimic this natural phenomenon for the first time not only visually, but also sonically.
The installation consists of more than 300 individual firefly objects, which reverberate and light up in different patterns across the space. Towards the end of synchronisation process, waves of sound and light move together and wash over the visitors: as if a higher entity emerges from the myriad of individuals.
Fireflies sonifies the emergent algorithm in an analogue way. The different materials that make up the sculptures were selected to be able to create a unique acoustic experience without any amplification or the use of speakers.
Each of the fireflies is equipped with a motor. When a single firefly lights up, the motor starts to vibrate and creates the first layer of sound. To compliment the sound of the motor, two micro shakers were added to each element as well as wings constructed out of foil and paper. By picking up the movement of the motor, a multi-layered sound is created, adding density to the sonic experience. The process of synchronisation is traceable acoustically across the space until it completely transforms the sound: the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
Concept, Production, Design, Programming
Hardware and Firmware Development
Mickey Van Olsen