City of Rhythm is an interactive installation which allows the viewer to interact with the city from a different angle in order to stimulate people's reflection and perception of the city.


2017.11-2017.12(6 weeks)


Group project (4)

My role

I raised up the concept and designed  interaction process between people adn this installation. In the production process, I was mainly responsible for hardware.




Laser cutting





If the city is likened to a living body, then houses are bone, people are blood. People flow in the city, which constitutes a living vitality. However, under the rapid development of the city, people become small screws, sitting in their own positions and repeating the work. It is difficult for them to feel the charm of the city. This is the sadness of the city, but also of the people.

Imagine that when you stand on a high place overlooking the city at dusk, and the sunset is gradually dimmed. At this moment, you seem to be the conductor, and interact with the city in front: waving hands, the building will follow your hands up and down; singing loudly, lights fluctuate with song.

Therefore, City of Rhythm aims to separate people from the city. People exist as outside viewers, and cities becomes an independent life form. By changing the perspective, City of Rhythm can help the viewer to rethink the best state between the person and the city and get their own answers.



I chose some landmark buildings in Guangzhou, the city where I live, and put them into the installation, which also carries my feelings for the city. I also want the audience to interact with the city from a commander's point of view.

2017 Guangzhou International Light Festival

​Interaction Process

​Step 1: Wake up the city

In the beginning, the buildings are all below the ground level.

When the viewer moves his hand above the city, the position of the hand is detected by the ultrasonic sensor. When the distance reaches a certain trigger value (such as <50cm), the light of the building lights up and rises.

​Step 2: Interact with the city

When all buildings are active, the building can move up and down follow the hands‘ movement. The light will change the music, the higher the volume, the brighter the light.

​Step 3: Back to silence

When the ultrasonic sensor fails to detect an object within a period of time, the illuminated lights are gradually extinguished and the buildings return to their default height.



We designed a table with a double-layer structure. The lower layer is used to place wires and support the buildings. And the upper layer is ground which installed the relevant sensors.

There is a winding light strip inside the building, which is risen up by screw stepper motor.

Develop process



We used building blocks to make urban models, including ten tall buildings and several small one.

After drawing the city's layout with autoCAD, we used laser cutting to make 10 holes on the board and made a special double-decker table.

Circuit of motor

Programming & Circuit

We used  Fritzing to complete the circuits.

Circuit of WS2812

Using serial monitor to View the Data of ultrasound sensor.

Assemble & Install

Put the assembled buildings and circuits under the table according to city's layout to ensure that the building can move up and down smoothly.

Total cost:3000RMB

​City Show


© 2020 by Gloria Deng.