Organic Light Show: LEDs Fool Fireflies into Synchronizing


Thai fireflies gather annually to glow, flashing in great quantities in the country’s mangrove forests. Artists Robin Meier and André Gwerder stepped into the mix, adding artificial flashers to sync up the natural bioluminscent species.

Some types of firefly will synchronize on their own, but following their natural rhythms. By introducing fakes into the mix, the pair of artists tricked a huge group into following their cues, pulsing in controlled patterns and sequential clusters.

firefly light show

“Synchronicity (Thailand) is a video documentation of an experiment where live fireflies are made synchronise their flashes to computer controlled LED’s. Throughout the video the artists explore the relationship between mathematical models of this complex group behaviour and their biological reality in the field. By influencing living fireflies with computer controlled lights they question the idea of free will and simultaneously transform a machine into a living actor inside a colony of insects.”

submit to reddit
See more in Weird Science or under Science. August, 2016.