Goldfish is an exhibition built by Rob Blake and myself in 2009 in Mabgate, Leeds. We put together a machine that enabled a tank of goldfish to program a mechanical drum machine, browse the internet, and make drawings in charcoal.
Goldfish swimming in a tank at the center of the room were tracked and detected using some simple optics and an Arduino. We developed a "goldfish-friendly" 4-track software drum machine, which ran on the Arduino. Our fish were given full control over the drum pattern, and could continuously edit the score in real-time, for days on end.
We also wanted to give our fish the opportunity to make drawings in charcoal. Their movement was translated into electrical pulses, which were sent to two windscreen wiper motors mounted on the wall of the gallery. These motors were coupled to chaotic double pendula - fish arms - which then drew directly onto paper.
Our goldfish made two chaotic drawings which we really should have sold at an extortionate price as "the first ever drawings made by fish".
Our fish were also able to browse and search the internet. They downloaded about ten thousand images from all over the world.