A Colloquy of Micro:bits
25th November 2023

An Interactive Art Experiment

A Colloquy of Micro:bits is the latest experiment in Sean Clark's ongoing series of "colloquy" artworks. As with other Colloquies, it is made up of a number of interacting parts that work together to form a "coherent whole". In this case, nine Micro:bit micro-controllers, each with a speaker, LED light strip, an input device, and a wireless link communicate to exchange triggers for their own particular "songs". To add viewer interest, the input device - a potentiometer or ultrasonic distance sensor - can be used to change some parameters of the songs.

By responding to each other and any humans in the space, the individual parts produce an ever-changing soundtrack. For this experiment, three different "species" of Micro:bit were created. The "birds" operate a call-and-response system, with a song from one triggering replies from another. The "cicadas"  make a chirping sound and work together to synchronise their chirps. The "toads" make noises when people approach them. The toads only respond to humans and not to each other.

This experiment proved to be an interesting test piece with positive user feedback. The next step is to refine the communication between the species in such a way that the messaging becomes more apparent to the attentive listener. The eventual goal is to combine these sound and light works with Sean Clark's screen-based 2D animated pieces, Many thanks to the Institute for giving us the opportunity to install the work as part of Loughborough Lates. 


YouTube Video

Poster by the Institute

Sean Clark: A Colloquy of Micro:bits