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The Rhythm of City

The Rhythm of City points out an innovative and artistic way for applying geo-located social data of Twitter, Flicker, and Youtube as a score. At the same time, the data represents a city’s pace of life. The goal is to metaphorically describe locations by extracting geo-tagged content and translating it into the rhythm of a physical metronome every minute. It means the digital inhabitants are the composers of the score in real time.

The installation consists of 10 modified metronomes whose rhythms correspond to the selected cities’ digital pace of life. Every metronome represents a city. The audience is given a chance to discover and experience an alternative way of perceiving different locations through an unpredictable and continuous performance of 10 metronomes. Our concerns are about the malleability of the digital world to the physical one, and the interpretation of social data for artistic purposes. The Rhythm of City is an inter-disciplinary artwork that demonstrates creative approach towards emerging social web technology. At the same time, the artwork draws attention to the vanishing border between virtual and physical, and allows perceiving a city’s digital pace of life.

the project is developed in collaboration with Mar Canet Sola.

The above version of installation is the second one. In the new version we are using Yamaha hybrid metronomes and digital fabrication.

Below you can see the first version of the project and read about the process.

The project has been supported by Wittner GmbH & Co. KG 

The idea is to apply geo-located social data for describing a city in real-time.


The initial plan with 10 metronomes has been realized. We have selected 10 cities (that could be as well changed if needed) and offering a acoustic and visual experience that is driven by geo-located social data from Twitter, Flickr, and Youtube.

See our presentation at the symposium of Enter5 in Prague for more information on the concept and realization:

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We already have modified 5 metronomes!

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here is the ready project with explanations. At the moment just with one metronome but there are coming more!

can you imagine how it will sound with 10 or more metronomes?


improved demo:


Starting with the inspiration for the project, Bornstein & Bornstein discovered a positive correlation between the walking speed of pedestrians and the size of the city . Robert Levine demonstrated in his study the faster pace of life in the northern, economically developed and individualistic countries. In short, the studies proved that it is possible to describe a city and its culture by the speed of inhabitants and services, and its location.

Consequently, we assume that the digital geo-located social data can give us similar results: in economically developed countries bigger cities generate more digital social content rather than the cities of undeveloped countries. In other words, we believe that the analyses of geo-located social data will give similar results as have achieved Bornstein & Bornstein and Robert Levine. Thus, the aim is to artistically relate to these studies.

The goal is to metaphorically describe the locations by extracting geo-tagged content and translating it into a rhythm of physical metronome in real-time. In short, a metronome represents a city. The installation consists from the 10 modified metronomes whose rhythms correspond to the selected cities’ the digital pace of life of. The audience is given a chance to discover and experience an alternative way of perceiving different locations through a continuous performance of 10 metronomes.

To put in a nutshell, “The Rhythm of City” is an art installation that explains in original way digital geo-located social content and characterizes cities. Even more, the work is an ongoing performance that embraces different locations, digital social data, and physical kinetic motion.

The installation is a sonic, and at the same time visual, interface for perceiving the urban life and culture of different locations. Moreover, we would like to give an alternative meaning and purpose to the location-specific invisible online data. In short, the artwork makes invisible information visible and even audible.

rhythm of prototype ;-)

ready installation should look similar:

Techincal realization:

Important thing is that we do not rely on single social network but multiple. At the moment we are applying Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr. We plan extend our selection.

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Prototyping:

1st task: to control the rhythm of a metronome

at first we thought about electromagnets but later we discovered that the solution is servo motor.

controlling metronome with servo motor

so we placed servo inside the metronome and glued a hook that is able to modify the tempo of metronome. The result is below.

the three buttons are from modified computer mouse.

mouse as a controller for different speed modes

The servo has currently 3 modes and is controlled by arduino.

arduino is controlling servo and communicating with processing program

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2nd task: get real time online data and make it controle the rhythm of metronome.

should work like this:

controlling logic

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