Pogonomyrmex/Homo 8, Phase 5


How can multiple species share an experience? 


This work focuses on a particular stimulus that both humans and Harvester Ants are able to perceive: sound. While humans hear sound through their ears, ants hear through picking up vibrations in their feet. 


There are two long panels of stretched mylar in the space: one is clear and stands four feet tall, the other is translucent and is suspended overhead. 1,000 live Harvester Ants are contained on each panel. Gravel covers the floor. Microphones are embedded in the gravel, picking up sound from humans walking through the space. The sound is sent to a preamp and then to a simple computer where the level of noise is translated to vibration motors on the underside of the clear panel. The louder the sound, the more vibration motors are activated.


Ants on the suspended panel move through a glass microsphere substrate. Guitar pickups, adhered to the underside of the panel, amplify the sounds of ant activity. The sound is sent to humans through headphones. 


Both species are hearing each other, but in their respective modes of perception. Both are observed and observing. The shared-environment becomes a new space, adapting the sound experience to the needs of both participating species. 


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