‘Synchronicity’ by Robin Meier for Art Basel 2015

“Synchronicity”, an immersive installation by Swiss artist Robin Meier, presented as the first work supported by the annual Audemars Piguet Art Commission.

Based on the theme of ‘synchronicity’ & the spontaneous emergence of patterns in nature, Robin Meier’s installation explores the underlying mathematical rules of self-organisation among fireflies, computers, crickets, sounds, and electromagnetic pendulums.

Meier’s large-scale installation focuses on the principles of order in nature. “Synchronicity” explores the natural phenomena of how fireflies found in remote parts of the world flash bioluminescent light in unison, and how crickets chorus together in a single regulated pulse. Meier’s work, exhibited in a specially equipped air-locked tent, takes the form of an abandoned greenhouse overflowing with nature. Once inside, the viewer is greeted by audial and visual pulses flooding the space in a rhythmic beat. The sounds of cricket chirps, metronome beats, water pumps and various other electronic materials seem to harmonise with light emitted by hundreds of fireflies flying freely and flashing in unison. Various species of plants cascading water containers, and tiny glowing lights are integrated within the installation. Machines and monitors turn on and off intermittently, displaying scientific laboratory footage of fireflies and crickets.

The fireflies’ synchronised flashes have created a puzzle for researchers for many years. Supported and facilitated by the Audemars Piguet Art Commission, Robin Meier and his team have collaborated with entomological laboratories in Japan, Thailand, France, and the UK to research this extraordinary natural phenomenon and to create the necessary conditions for bringing these insects to Europe. Audemars Piguet forged connections with research scientists and organisations, such as the Swiss-based Papiliorama Foundation, which raises awareness about tropical forests and biodiversity. Meier has worked alongside the Papiliorama Foundation as well as a group of specialised scientific collaborators drawn from the fields of genetic engineering, computer science, firefly breeding, cricket chorusing, bioacoustics, and cognitive science to guide his efforts in developing the new commission.


WHERE Volkshaus Basel, Rebgasse 12-14, 4058 Basel, Switzerland
WHEN June 17 – June 21, 2015

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