News - June 14, 2018

Peaceful sounds to accompany beetle

Roelof Kleis

Must Leave, the beetle sculpture in the pond near Orion, is already very eye-catching. But soon passers-by will be pricking up their ears as well as the vicinity of the beetle will be filled with peaceful sounds.

© Roelof Kleis

‘On the bridge you will be immersed in a sound landscape that enchants you and that is different every time,’ predicts the instigator of the artistic project, Marten Scheffer, professor of Aquatic Ecology. ‘The bridge is to become a dream bridge. A place which makes you feel calm and happy.’

The bridge is to become a dream bridge

Scheffer has created 10 basic compositions of sounds such as playing children, birds or chimes. The sounds are produced in response to the weather and the traffic on the bridge. Sun, rain, heat or frost: each kind of weather provokes a different kind of sound, evoking the emotion that goes with it.

The translation of weather and traffic into sounds is the work of the computer programme Simona (Sensitive Infinite Musical Offering Naturalisation Angel). The programme is fed by sensors measuring things like temperature, light intensity, sound levels and wind speed. The sound installation will start working on Thursday 21 June at exactly 12.07, the precise moment of the solstice.

Broken leg
If you looked closely, you could see that the left back leg of the pond beetle was hanging down a bit. It probably got broken when somebody tried to climb onto the beetle ‘like a kind of Harry Potter on the dragon,’ says Marten Scheffer. ‘I just see it as a compliment: the sculpture has great powers of attraction.’ The Danish artist Vagn Iversen has put the leg in a splint and will repair it soon. Signs and a camera have been installed to prevent further damage.