Suzumushi : the silent swarm

Sade, Gavin J. & Priscilla, Bracks (2011) Suzumushi : the silent swarm. [Digital/Creative Work]

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This silent swarm of stylized crickets is downloading data from Internet and catalogue searches being undertaken by the public at the State Library Queensland. These searches are being displayed on the screen on their backs. Each cricket downloads the searches and communicates this information with other crickets. Commonly found searches spread like a meme through the swarm.

In this work memes replace the crickets’ song, washing like a wave through the swarm and changing on the whim of Internet users. When one cricket begins calling others, the swarm may respond to produce emergent patterns of text. When traffic is slow or of now interest to the crickets, they display onomatopoeia.

The work is inspired by R. Murray Schafer’s research into acoustic ecologies. In the 1960’s Schafer proposed that many species develop calls that fit niches within their acoustic environment. An increasing background of white noise dominates the acoustic environment of urban human habitats, leaving few acoustic niches for other species to communicate. The popularity of headphones and portable music may be seen as an evolution of our acoustic ecology driven by our desire to hear expressive, meaningful sound, above the din of our cities.

Similarly, the crickets in this work are hypothetical creatures that have evolved to survive in a noisy human environment. This speculative species replaces auditory calls with onomatopoeia and information memes, communicating with the swarm via radio frequency chirps instead of sound.

Whilst these crickets cannot make sound, each individual has been programmed respond to sound generated by the audience, by making onomatopoeia calls in text. Try talking to a cricket, blowing on its tail, or making other sounds to trigger a call.

Impact and interest:

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4 since deposited on 16 Jun 2011
4 in the past twelve months

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ID Code: 39874
Item Type: Creative Work (Digital/Creative Work)
Refereed: No
Funders: Arts Queensland, Queensland State Library
Location: From date: To date:
Wonderland, Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan 2011-02-11 2011-03-15
State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 2011-04-07 2011-06-05
UNCONTAINABLE & Untitled Exhibition at the International Symposium of Electronic Art, Istanbul, Turkey 2011
Finalist in Concurso de Artes Electrónicas y Video del Festival Transitio_MX 04, Mexico City, Mexico 2011-09-30 2011-10-09
Additional URLs:
Keywords: memes, R. Murray Schafer, acoustic ecologies
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Electronic Media Art (190203)
Divisions: Past > Disciplines > Art & Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Kuuki
Deposited On: 16 Jun 2011 05:55
Last Modified: 11 May 2017 02:51

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