Urban Birdies are solar-powered audio devices that start to chitter if the they encounters light. All of its functions are under the control of a small circuit board.
The Urban Crickets are small, solar-powered sound generators made from simple elect- ronic circuits. They are very easy to make, and are long lasting. Followed by intense experimentation with different circuits and components, the sound more and more imitated a lively cricket. The development and distribution of the different prototypes of the Urban Cricket has been promoted through various activities such as illegal street art campaigns, organization of workshops and active participation in media arts festival. The use of Urban Crickets in public spaces has already been tested and documented in many countries around the globe.
Conceptual Development and the Sounds of the Crickets
»Japanese people try to preserve a reminder of the warm seasons: they keep singing crickets in the winter.« Bernhard Bartsch
Cricket culture in China and Japan has a long history. Singing crickets were kept as pets, and they were prized for the beautiful melodies they made. Crickets were put in boxes in the bedroom so the owner could enjoy a nighttime serenade. A wealth of songs and poems about crickets exists as they are so prevalent in the imaginations of the people. Salomé Voegelin described in his book Listening to Noise and Silence, Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art how crickets define and shape the silence of landscapes.
The sound of crickets has many positive connotations, and this makes the Urban Cricket device an interesting tool for interventions in urban space. When we hear a cricket, we think of the warm time of year or warm holiday evenings on the sea; we can be made happy by the sound. The subtle interventions with artificial cricket sounds attempt to set free those positive feelings in those passing by. At the same time, they should cause some irritation because the Urban Crickets are located in urban areas, a place where you rarely hear crickets. Nonetheless even in this noisy environment, cricket sounds are an indicator of the soundscape and raise awareness to our perception of sound.