Vancouver is a city close to nature but also at the leading edge of technology. Blending the two, Tangible Intervention was commissioned by the city of Vancouver to create a public artwork for Stanley Park to celebrate the city's 125th birthday.

Visitors to the park hear the familiar summer sound of woodpeckers. But as they get closer and look up to the canopy, they find birds perched on trees unlike any seen before.

Picadae Chorus is 7 geometric birds, installed in a small forest space, that light up as they peck a percussion box and slowly fade as they come to a stop. Approximately 10 inches high, sometimes they peck in unison, occasionally they peck alone. The sound from each is unique and collectively they create a beautiful chorus and a visual spectacle that brings mechanical life, and light, to the forest.

Design & Fabrication
The simple faceted almost iconic design was created using 3D software, the resulting design was then cut out of acrylic and assembled for testing together with the mechanical system and electronics.

A mold was then made for vacuum forming. The birds were made out of thin styrene with a bright RGB LED module inside and a solenoid that control its movement.

Custom made sound boxes were developed specially for the project by a luthier.

Sound Design
Picidae chorus doesn’t try to replicate Wood Pecker’s natural sound patterns but it does try to create a natural, life like behaviour through the use of some simple principles.

This principles are creation, repetition, imitation and propagation. With these principles in mind we created a powerful generative rhythmic pattern engine entirely in Arduino.


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