Flytweet Installation – A Fly Colony on Twitter

Posted October 18th, 2012

Installations, Interactive Art, Media Art, Videos

This device sends twitter messages based on the activities of a collection of houseflies. The flies live inside an acrylic sphere along with a computer keyboard. As the flies move and interact inside their home, they fly over the keys on the keyboard. These movements are collected in real-time via video. When a particular key is triggered by the flies, the key’s corresponding character is entered into a twitter text box. When 140 characters are reached or the flies trigger the “enter” key, the message containing the accumulated characters is tweeted. Thus live twitter messages are perpetually sent in real-time based on the simple movements of the community of houseflies. These constantly accumulating messages appear as records of random activity within the larger sphere of social media and networking.

The Creators Project: “From lonely robots to glorified celebrities to your next door neighbor, all sorts of people are tweeting at all times from places all over the world, and statistics say 40 percent of these messages are made up of “pointless babble.”

In the spirit of contributing a little more pointless babble from a more interesting source, David Bowen’s Flytweet allows houseflies to tweet. Now on exhibit at Seoul’s 7th Media Art Biennale, this installation is comprised of an acrylic sphere that houses a colony of houseflies with a computer keyboard. Flies move around, often landing on the keyboard. Their random activity registers into a Twitter text box, and when the 140 character limit is reached or if a fly actually hits “enter,” the accumulated characters are tweeted into the boundless social abyss of pointless babble.

It’s unfortunately too late to see this piece any longer, as all the houseflies have died by this point. Check out their last gasping tweets at @flycolony.”