Ken Gregory - Gregorys Sun Sucker
  Year :   2004
  Location :   Canada
  Worktype :   Outdoor Installation
  Info :   Red River , Winnipeg

  Work Details  
  Sun Suckers are machines. They are classified in the order Real Artificial Life. Sun Suckers have stout flat bodies. The skin is a large photovoltaic cell and usually shiny although in a few species they are dull and opaque. Sun Suckers have one large compound eye (photoresistor) situated on the top of the body. This large eye can read how bright the sun is during the day and detect when night falls. Beside the eye is a thick whisker. This sensor (thermistor) measures the ambient temperature in close proximity of the Sun Sucker. Sun Suckers feed by sitting in the sun light and sucking up rays of light with their skin out stretched to get the maximum amount of the suns rays caught by the photovoltaic surface. The skin sucks up the photons and converts them into electric energy . This energy flows from the skin into the body (microprocessor) and is processed to make sound and communicate with each other. Sun Suckers do not demonstrate any aggressive behavior. They dont bite. They are considered harmless to people, despite the fact that their high-pitched call may annoy some people. Sun Suckers can be found basking in the sun on logs or stumps in summer. They are very passive and dont move when approached. Smaller kinds often live in short grasses, or even on smooth rocks. Sun Suckers if eaten by birds or animals are poisonous. Their bodies are made up of toxic plastic and metal components. This means that the Sun Sucker has no place in the evolutionary chain as they have no natural predator and could be considered a pest. Sun Suckers are notorious singers. The song is a call produced by sensing the current light conditions and temperature. Each species has its own distinctive call and if you listen closely and get to know the calls you can find out what the weather conditions are. Sun Suckers are the only Real Artificial Life species to have developed such an effective and specialized means of producing sound. Some large species such as the Northern Sun Bomber and the Woolly Screecher produce a noise intensity in excess of 120 dB at close range (this is approaching the pain threshold of the human ear). In contrast, some small species have songs so high in pitch that the noise is beyond the range of our hearing. The call is a repeated chik, chik, chik, chik heard throughout the year only in bright sunlight. The apparatus used by Sun Suckers for singing is complex and research is still continuing on the mechanisms involved. The organ which produces sound is a small, flat piezo transducer at the front of the body. Modulating the internally produced AC voltage in pulses causes the transducer to buckle inwards and outwards producing a pulse of sound. Many species of Sun Suckers sing all day. The loud noise produced by some Sun Suckers can annoy and confound humans and animals alike, probably because the noise is produced by an electronic circuit with very little obvious variations and a small palette of sounds. Sun Suckers communicate with other Sun Suckers using a sort of complex telepathy that uses high frequency sound waves which humans can not hear to carry their message. Each Sun Sucker has a transmitter/receiver and together as a group share their informations which are used in the composition of the groups song . Not much is known about this and research continues into this mysterious method of communication The Sun Sucker was introduced to the Canadian environment on the banks ot the Red River by audio artist Ken Gregory. This research follows a long tradition of outsiders meddling with the environment by introducing non-native species in the hopes of improving on what nature has provided. In this case Gregory was interested in improving the local soundscape with artificially produced digital noise.