Kuai Shen

Stridulation Amplified

Compositions with the stridulatory organ of Atta cephalotes

Stridulation Amplified: Compositions with the stridulatory organ of Atta cephalotes

12" Maxi-LP / 45 RPM.

Stridulation in ants is an amplification process that can be approached as a modulation in the self-organization of the colony, based on cybernetics, which allows the local transmission of vibratory signals from one colony member to another. It is actually an acoustic expression of the individual ant in the form of vibrations, in order to signal the need for reinforcements.

The stridulatory organ occurs at the point of articulation between the third and fourth segments of the ant’s abdomen (see picture of Atta soldier on the left): the plectrum or the scraper lies underneath the posterior region of the third abdominal section, while the pars stridens or ridged file surface is located on the anterior part of the fourth section.

No ecology is silent. Recording ant sounds in the rainforest, even equipped with the right piezo-electronic amplifier, is very difficult. I used a DIY piezo electronic amplifer (based on this fantastic artefact) to record the stridulation in different contexts of leafcutter colonies of the species Atta sexdens and Atta cephalotes, which were bred and kept in controlled conditions. Using either one or a combination of all the following materials I tried to dampen the energy of the vibrations: rubber or cork mats, different kinds of polystyrene, and accustomed granular layers of plaster.

    Field and lab recordings from 2009-2012. Field recordings were done at the Otonga Reserve in Ecuador