'Little Buggers' mixed media installation. 14 autonomous sound producing robots were arranged in the Museum of Energy at Santralistanbul, for the exhibition LIGHT ILLUMINATION ELECTRICITY. The museum is located in the buildings which once served as the main power station for the whole of Istanbul. K:I:S:S: is a useful acronym that serves as a guiding principle when designing installations. Keep It Simple Stupid. The title for the first residency program at Santralistanbul was simple, Light Illumination Electricity. To create an installation that fulfilled these three phenomenon as well as satisfying my need to create a work which Off the Grid. A Photovore is a light-eater, consisting of a small solar panel, an integrated circuit chip, a capacitor, a resistor and a speaker, very basic very simple. From the family of robots known as Phototropes in BEAM robotics, a Phototrope is a robot that reacts to light sources. Little Buggers feed off light. Their feed is instantly turned into sound, no storage system, no battery. No light means no sound, sound intensity is dependent on the light intensity. The Little Buggers were arranged in two locations in the museum. The first group, a group of five, were placed on one of the massive vertical iron girders that form the structure of the museum. They were designed to emit tones when in direct sunlight. On a sunny day bright white sunlight would fall on this area of the museum between 3 and 4 o'clock, so they would only work if both requirements were fulfilled. The second group, a group of nine, were placed in one of the large windows of the museum. The window was located in a position that received only indirect daylight, therefore no bright white sunlight but rather low intensity light. The first group would only emit sound if the conditions were favorable, direct contact with bright sunlight. The second group was designed to emit tones in low light conditions, tones ranging from monotonous continuous squeals to varying staccato rhythms depending on very subtle changing lighting conditions. The installation was meant to be discovered by visitors by the incidental nature of the Bugs. Small and almost invisible due to their specific locations, their components blending in with the dark colours of the iron work to which they were clinging via magnets. If the day was particularly cloudy or dark with no lighting variations a visitor could miss the works or pay no attention due to the absence of tone or by the fact that the tones were not attractive or alluring enough therefore ignored as possibly only a broken installation. It is only when conditions were favorable i.e. fluctuations in lighting intensity illuminating the bugs creating varying electrical currents that they came alive demanding attention and showing their sonic personalities.
credits to Mark Tilden, Ralf Schreiber & the BEAM community.