What is it?
You can buy “self-blinking” LEDs which have tiny brains embedded inside: just power them up, and they blink about 1.5 times a second. But they’re not perfectly precise: one might be ever-so-slightly faster than the next.
Each “Sync/Desync Micro” has eight white, self-blinking LEDs, set in an artist-designed white circuit board and a custom 3D-printed frame (two color options included: slate gray and pine). At times, it seems like they’re chasing each other, or facing off, or showing patterns. But they have no way of communicating. Each light just blinks on its own, at its own pace; the structures and sequences we perceive are artifacts created by our pattern-sensing minds.
They are boxed with everything necessary to power and wall-mount them (screws or tacks). The artwork is just bright enough to be seen in typical indoor daylight illumination, and comparable to a dim nightlight in darkness.
Though the lights are dim, they may interact with photosensitive epilepsy.
To my mind, a lot of modern life boils down to finding patterns: matching things together, making theories that fit the data. Yes or no, us versus them. This was a useful talent for hunter-gatherers: seeing a pattern in the underbrush could mean the difference between eating or starving. But today I suspect that we detect less helpful patterns. We find signals in the noise, whether it’s there or not; Skinner’s pigeons, hopping one-footed.
Where do I get one?
“Sync/Desync Micro” and “Sync/Desync R/G/B Micro” are exclusively sold in an edition of 50 through “but, also” through January 2022.