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The Intersection of Art, Crickets, and Science

In the study of Natural History scientists have been trained to believe that we exist in the realm of pure science, life is but a series of numbers and equations. Yet clearly it is not, as the results of any investigation are as much the product of the psyche and interplay between Investigator X and the critters they study as some universal law defining the system. Different observer....different conditions....different results...different interpretation. Same as art.

So often the imagination, the inner gut, the very essence of why we are taken to the study of plants and animals is left unacknowledged and untended in Natural History. We would like to tend that garden and plan to create links to people who are working in areas that in include additional interpretations of crickets and katydids in the City.

We encourage you to get in touch with our art coordinator, Proteus Gowanus, at ProteusGowanus is an interdisciplinary gallery and reading room located on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY. A collaborative project, the gallery develops exhibits of art, artifacts and books that revolve around a year long theme linking the arts to other disciplines and to the community. Proteus and its Partners-in-Residence,the Morbid Anatomy Library, Observatory and the Reanimation Library, work at the interfaces of art, science and history, exploring the reciprocity of creativity and knowledge. Proteus is pleased to participate in the CricketCrawl as curator of orthopteran art, music and dance. We look forward to receiving your submissions for display on this website.

We are always interested in in new ideas. If any of you would like to use the resulting data, create opportunties for people to participate in different ways, or take on new projects yourself, that would be very welcome.

Orthopteran Art and Literature are now going up and visible on our arts and literature page.

Cricket Crawl | Top | Instructions | Downloadable Data Form | Discover Life

The Creaking of Earth’s Axle

...Thoreau's Journal: 20-Aug-1851
I hear a cricket in the Depot field, walk a rod or two, and find the note proceeds from near a rock. Partly under a rock, between it and the roots of the grass, he lies concealed,—for I pull away the withered grass with my hands,—uttering his night-like creak, with a vibratory motion of his wings, and flattering himself that it is night, because he has shut out the day. He was a black fellow nearly an inch long, with two long, slender feelers. They plainly avoid the light and hide their heads in the grass. At any rate they regard this as the evening of the year. They are remarkably secret and unobserved, considering how much noise they make. Every milkman has heard them all his life; it is the sound that fills his ears as he drives along. But what one has ever got off his cart to go in search of one? I see smaller ones moving stealthily about, whose note I do not know. Whoever distinguished their various notes, which fill the crevices in each other’s song? It would be a curious ear indeed, that distinguished the species of the crickets which it heard, and traced even the earth-song home, each part to its particular performer. I am afraid to be so knowing. They are shy as birds, these little bodies. Those nearest me continually cease their song as I walk, so that the singers are always a rod distant, and I cannot easily detect one. It is difficult, moreover, to judge correctly whence the sound proceeds. Perhaps this wariness is necessary to save them from insectivorous birds, which would otherwise speedily find out so loud a singer. They are somewhat protected by the universalness of the sound, each one’s song being merged and lost in the general concert, as if it were the creaking of earth’s axle.