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Courtesy: Fabrizio Di Salvo and Massimiliano Cerioni

Scope BLN




Interactive Sound-Art Installation by

Fabrizio Di Salvo and Massimiliano Cerioni


October 20 – October 27, 2023

Opening: Friday, October 20 at 6 p.m.


Lotka-Volterra is a sound sculpture named after a mathematical model that simulates the population growth of two species inevitably interacting since they feed on the same resources. The Lotka-Volterra model is related to the concept of keystone species, introduced in 1969 by the zoologist Robert T. Paine to describe a species that has a disproportionately large effect on its natural environment relative to its abundance.


A custom Lotka-Volterra mathematical model – developed for this purpose – runs behind the whole installation inside a Raspberry PI microcomputer. An LCD touchscreen lets the audience set the initial conditions of the model, i.e. each species’ population parameters and the system’s calculation rate. Then, the Lotka-Volterra model starts computing the solutions by outputting the population size of each species, and it will iterate the computation by using the current output numbers as a starting point for finding the following solutions, over and over. Although these changes occur naturally over decades, the model rate fast-forwards the progressive solutions enough to let the audience perceive the variations over dozens of seconds or even less.


The microcomputer sends the population sizes to a hardware system made of an Arduino microcontroller and a dedicated voltage amplifier to drive two yellow motors placed on the floor at different rates, representing the two species. The higher the population size of a Species, the faster the corresponding motor will run. The constantly changing results let the motors develop a mechanical and sonic dialogue with each other through their rhythmic motion. The challenge for the audience consists of setting the system's parameters to keep its functioning within boundaries that prevent the two species from going extinct, a likely outcome due to an unbalanced relationship that will cause one or both motors to go suddenly off.


By letting the audience set the initial condition of an ecosystem and then having them experience the results in terms of motion and sound, Lotka-Volterra aims to help the participants grasp the importance of biodiversity for ecosystem balance.


Fabrizio Di Salvo | Concept, Design, Realization
Massimiliano Cerioni | Concept, Lotka-Volterra Algorithm Programming 

David Fortmann | Graphic User Interface

Supported By

Fachausschuss Musik BL/BS

Foundation Nicati-de Luze

Ernst Göhner Stiftung

Premiered during Kunsttage 2023 at Voltage Artspace, Basel, Switzerland

Opening: Friday, October 20, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Scope BLN Art Space

Lübecker Str. 43 10559 Berlin

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