This is an abstract from the Beyond Listening symposium programme.

Vibrations [Firebug - city]

Bea Targosz

The project has started from observations of the urban environment as a ground of interplays between technology, architecture and nature, with an attempt to follow and understand animals’ possible perspectives on the city. Among many species, one of the common city dwellers, widely exploring its potentials, are insects.They are active users of urban facilities, first occupants of new buildings, brave co-creators of the environment and of the soundscape. They are also receivers of city sounds, vibes and radiations.

Insects’ activities and communication were examined as one of the multiple layers of signals and vibes of the urban environment. Bringing forth insects’ presence, I attempt to extend the perspective on the city, including various understandings of scale, time, termination of happenings and question about our relations to non-humans and to our environments.

The fieldwork focused on the Pyrrhocoris apterus. Recognizable for its wing colour patterns and multiple big colonies, Firebug is a common inhabitant of European cities. At the same time, it is being researched in the context of insects’ personalities and vibrational communication. Records include behaviour and interactions between up to 3 bugs for up to 2 hours at once. In parallel, vibrations appearing in the closest surrounding of the firebugs’ colony - rhythms and cycles of the city found within the soil and infrastructures - have been captured. The focus of the recordings was structure-borne sound.

In the installation both, vibrations of the city and of insects are audible. Long sequences of insects’ activities are introduced to reflect the timbre and timing of happenings. The research, fieldwork and recorded material were consulted with Dr. Roland Mühlethaler - entomologist specialized in insect’s vibrational communication. During fieldwork, contact microphones created by dr.Roland Mühlethaler for the purposes of capturing insects’ vibrations, as well as geophone have been used.


Bea Targosz studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk and Berlin University of the Arts where she recently graduated postgraduate study program at the Institute of Time-Based Media; her works were presented among others at Vorspiel /transmediale & CTM, nextmuseum, klingt gut! Symposium on Sound HAW Hamburg and CENSE Conference in Budapest.

Bea Targosz: Vibrations [Firebug - city]