Picidae Chorus

a picture of origami style plastic birds facing upward on the trunks of four different trees

Vancouver is a city close to nature but also at the leading edge of technology.

Blending the two, Tangible produced Picidae Chorus, a public artwork for Stanley Park to celebrate the city’s 125th birthday.

From a distance, park visitors heard the familiar summer sound of woodpeckers. But as they moved closer and looked up to the canopy, they saw birds perched on trees unlike any they’d seen before.

Picidae Chorus is a kinetic, light and sound installation featuring 7 geometric birds, installed in the woods, that lit up as they pecked a percussion box and slowly fade as they come to a stop.

Approximately 12 inches high, sometimes the birds pecked in unison, occasionally they pecked alone. The sound from each is unique and collectively they created a chorus and visual spectacle that brought mechanical life, and light, to Stanley Park. Made from acrylic, the birds have an RGB LED module inside and a solenoid to control movement.

The basic premise behind Picidae Chorus wasn’t to replicate a woodpecker’s natural sound, or sound patterns but instead to fashion a life like behavior using simple principles – creation, repetition, imitation and propagation.

With those principles in mind, we made a powerful generative rhythm pattern engine entirely in Arduino.

An origami style plastic bird facing upward on a wooden plank

A shot of one of Tangible Interaction's Picidae, part of their Picidae Chorus installation in Vancouver's Stanley Park

An origami style plastic bird facing upward on a wooden plank connected to a tree trunk

Another shot of one of Tangible Interaction's Picidae, part of their Picidae Chorus installation in Vancouver's Stanley Park

An origami style plastic bird facing upward on a wooden plank connected to a tree trunk

A third shot of one of Tangible Interaction's Picidae, part of their Picidae Chorus installation in Vancouver's Stanley Park

someone taking a picture of an origami style plastic bird facing upward on a wooden plank connected to a tree tree trunk

Someone taking a picture of Tangible Interaction's Picidae Chorus installation in Vancouver's Stanley Park

two origami style plastic birds facing upward on wooden planks connected to tree trunks

Two onlookers viewing Tangible Interaction's Picidae Chorus installation in Vancouver's Stanley Park