This month’s The Wire (issue 357) magazine has a feature on David Dunn, a sound “ecologist” living in New Mexico. He is using sound recordings of bark beetles to fight their depletion of boreal forests. The beetles’ range is expanding and consequently these arthropods are destroying trees across America. By playing sound recordings of the beetles back to them, interspersed with non-repeating patterns to ensure the beetles can’t familiarise themselves with the sounds, the “beetle’s neural systems [are sent] into overdrive” and they consequently die. This is one method that could be used to control the spread of bark beetles, however there is the problem that the sounds interact with all organisms in the trees, and not just bark beetles. To me this is a very interesting control method and captivates my interests in Zoology and sound/field recording. David Dunn seems to build the majority of the tools he uses, and I would be intrigued to see them in a live setting. In the past he has published many pieces, including “Why Do Whales and Children Sing?”-a book and CD combo that documents the different ways the animals around us make noise.
This weekend I went to see “Truce” at CCA (Glasgow), a sound installation featuring three live male mosquitoes. This video on Vimeo shows the exhibiton exhibited elsewhere in 2009.
The mosquitoes are tethered to a wire using beeswax. Different frequencies are played to them via the wire and the mosquitoes respond by tuning their wingbeat patterns to the sound. This is supposed to resemble the mosquitoes behaviour in the wild, as males’ tune their wingbeat patterns to females’ in order to mate. The artists encourage you to excite the mosquitoes by breathing on them, teasing them with carbon dioxide, or offering your finger as a landing surface.
The exhibition is definitely very interesting on an aural level but although the subjects are “only mosquitoes”, I found it cruel that they were tied down using wax and apparently tortured with substances that they naturally find very exciting and stimulating.
This is a field recording featured on Soundry.com. While trying to record the song of the Dipper, a local interrupts to talk with the sound artists.