Instead of AdBlock, enjoy ad-free CAN by becoming a member. Everybody wins!
HOLO is a biannual magazine about emerging trajectories in art, science, and technology brought to you by the people behind CAN. Learn more!

Fly Revolver – Blurring boundaries between real and perceived


Created by David Bowen, Fly Revolver is an installation that spatialises activities of a houseflies through a device that controls a revolver and by blurring boundaries between the real and the perceived. The flies live inside an acrylic sphere with a target backdrop. As the flies move and interact inside their home they fly in front of and land on the target. The device responds to their position, pointing the Revolver in space or the observer.

The movements of houseflies are collected via video, then processed using MaxMSP and outputed to a robotic device that aims the revolver in real-time based on the flies’ relative location on the target. When a single fly is detected the revolver simply follows the movement of that fly. If several flies are in the field of view the software moves the revolver based on the activities of the collective. If no flies are detected the revolver goes to a rested position. If a fly is detected in the centre of the target the trigger of the revolver is pulled.

Project Page | David Bowen

Previously: Tele-Present Water [MaxMSP, Arduino] and Underwater by David Bowen – Hundreds of servos controlling wave patterns