Fascists, Lovers, and Other Lonely Ghosts (2018)

Social media have contributed to the radicalization of US politics—affinities quickly coalesce into factions online. Lonely Ghosts is an immersive, participatory installation that models the formation of dominant groups—and resistance to them—as processes of rhythmic entrainment, highlighting the beauty of polyrhythmic difference.

Hundreds of pulsing autonomous objects listen to each other over a mesh network. Via the principle of pulse-coupled oscillation, if two objects are in close enough proximity to one another, they will gradually synchronize their pulses. This can pull an object out of phase with other neighbors, and a cascade of rhythms results as the system attempts to find an ever-elusive equilibrium. Visitors are able to pick up and move the objects, which changes the network, disrupting its patterns and establishing a physical “history” to the system.

Thanks: Julius Wilson, Sue Huang, Edek Sher, Greg Picard, Sophia LaCava-Bohanan, Lucia Monge, Paul Rochford, Justin Grotelueschen, Chris Carlson.