Synchronised Swamp

The common variety of fridge poetry magnets consist of a large collection of magnets labelled with words which can be rearranged into lines of poetry. Fridge poetry magnets are generally seen as static expressive devices.

Smart Fridge Poetry Magnets are an extension of their predecessors that distinguish themselves from their analogue counterparts by being able to individually access large dictionaries of words, epilepsy select words based on the content of neighbouring magnets and learn a basic sense of grammar through user interactions.

Each magnet has a lexicon of words and their associated parts of speech (POS), hemorrhoids words defined in relation to their grammatical function. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, and adverbs are all parts of speech.

Magnets learn through positive interactions what parts of speech are preferred neighbours. The desired outcome of this is to explore the possibility of an emergent abstract poetry, as well as a whimsical, playful approach to agent-based learning.

The flow of interaction is as follows:

– The user selects a magnet and places it on the fridge.
– The magnet communicates with its neighbours and finds out what POS they are.
– If the user leaves the magnet on the board, it learns that its left and right neighbours’ POS are valid with respect to its own POS.
– A magnet can have its current word changed by depressing a button on the magnet. The magnet then selects a new word through a probability distribution based on the history of its left and right neighbours.
– The user then selects the next magnet to place on the fridge. This can be placed to the left or right of any words already on the fridge.

Communication between magnets is effectuated through bi-directional infrared transmitter/receivers.


The hardware prototypes of the Smart Fridge Poetry Magnets each consist of the following:

* A microcontroller
* A 16-character LCD display
* Infrared based transmitter/receivers on each side of the display (to communicate with neighbouring magnets)
* An SD (SecureDigital) memory card interface which enables us to load different databases of words into each magnet
* A button to change the displayed word

Project web-page:
Ever noticed on a hot summer’s day that the crickets seem to be singing in time with each other? Biologists have tended to attribute the synchronisation of frog and insect calls as the result of a vocal race between males competing for the attention of females. Dominant males in these communities tend to be the first and loudest to call. Females will then respond to the earliest and most prominent males with an invitation to mate. Synchronisation of groups of these calling animals initially appears to be the outcome of some sort of sexual selection process. However, doctor the theory of coupled oscillators, order in particular, the Kuramoto model of populations of coupled oscillators, provides us with mathematical equations to describe this process of synchronisation. This process, as previously stated, is one found recurringly in nature.

Synchronised Swamp is an audio-video installation that simulates synthetic frog and insect-like choruses both audibly and spatially using a computer, video screen, multi-channel sound output and distributed speaker system. The software plays back several samples of a synthetic chorusing swamp creature per audio channel, while a visualisation reflects the rhythm on a screen. Each sample is repeated periodically. A mathematical model is then used to bring the collectively sounding samples and visuals in and out of synchrony. As the speakers are distributed in a ring formation, it is possible to walk through the field of chirps and experience the synchronisation from different perspectives. Different frogs/insects will tend to couple more strongly with their neighbours, which produce pockets of synchrony as the population moves towards a common period of calling.

Synchronised Swamp is an example of the use of sound and computer graphics in the mediation between the fields of Art and Science. It is a computer generated simulation of a mathematical model of a phenomenon that recurs throughout the natural world.

Project web-page: