Two interesting pieces from Exit Art gallery’s BRAINWAVE: Common Senses show –
Alvin is a cellular automaton. Eight different cells produce sound. The sound one cell produces is determined by what sound the other cells are making. This kind of interrelated input and output scheme is an artificial neural network; a simulation of a brain. Alvin imitates living organisms in another way, because the sound circuits are actually built and destroyed by one another, rather than just turned on or off. The sound jiggles metal powder just like heat jiggles chemicals in a living cell. It is a way of making dynamic order out of randomness.
Swarm is an autonomous roaming device whose movements are determined by houseflies housed inside the device itself. The chamber where they live contains food, water and light to keep them warm but also sensors that detect the changing light patterns produced by their movements. The sensors send the light data to an on-board microcontroller, which in turn activate the motors moving the device in relation to the movements of the flies.