Monday 19 March 2018

Is this mosquito orchestra most annoying sound in the world?


Miranda Pyrnne

Two artists have created a sculpture which amplifies the sound of mosquitoes’ wing beats to challenge negative perceptions about the insects.

For most people the buzzing of a mosquito is an annoying and unwelcome sound.

But two artists have created an installation which amplifies the insects’ wings beats to showcase what they call their “beautiful” singing.

Robin Meir and Ali Momeni wanted to challenge the mosquito’s negative image and create a “truce” between man and the biting beast.

Built into their sculpture are tiny microphones which relay the noise of the mosquitoes as they flap their wings in response to music played to them through miniscule speakers.

The work, called Truce: Strategies for Post-Apocalyptic Computation, features as part of the Sonica 2013 programme in Glasgow from October 31 until November 3.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Momeni said: “The title refers to a relationship that I had with mosquitoes, and you partly also, and many people in the world, mosquitoes are a world villain.

“I happen to be very allergic to them so this in a way was a calling out to the mosquitoes to make peace, so the word truce refers to that.”

The creators use bees’ wax to tether the insects in place and insist the winged creatures are not harmed in the process.


Mr Meir said: “A lot of people ask us if the mosquitos are hurt or if we get complaints by animal rights activists but in our experience it really creates a difference rapport between the visitors and the mosquitoes in this truce.

“They suddenly become aware of the mosquito as something alive and producing a beautiful sound and it really creates a relationship, which is really nice.”

The two artists were inspired after stumbling across a research paper which showed mosquitoes would tune into the same frequency of wing beat as the others around them.

Three mosquitoes are used in the installation and are played the same piece of music, which replicates the buzzing of another mosquito, so all three insects then steadily adjust their wing beats in line with the sound they can hear.

Mr Meir said: “Each mosquito hears the same stimulus song, thinking it’s a mosquito of the opposite sex, each mosquito will tune into this same song and eventually all three mosquitos are singing in unison.”

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