Bird and the moon

The Bird and the Moon

Bird & The Moon from translating nature on Vimeo.

A seasonal affective disorder (SAD) light, effectively an array of white LEDs, has been hacked so the brightness of the light responds to data from a remote site – in this instance a light sensor at the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin. Access to the real-time data is provided by Pachube*.

The bird has also been hacked so that it’s head can move. As the light (The Moon) rises the bird looks toward it.

For demonstration purposes a local sensor enables the bird to respond to changes in ambient light level at its own location.

The work explores the re-presentation of environmental data by incorporating nature back into the loop, to make the live data feed back into a system that aesthetically links us directly back to the natural world.

While the moon is at its brightest, the bird is mesmerised.

Made for CruftFest2011, as part of the QMUL Media and Arts Technology PhD, by Julie Freeman, using a Nanode, an Arduino, Processing, a taxidermy specimen of a bird, and a light.

Featured at the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering:

juliefreeman vint cerf_crop
Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, helping the artist with a technical glitch on the baby buzzard at the Tate Modern.


  • From “Pachube (“patch-bay”) connects people to devices, applications, and the Internet of Things. As a web-based service built to manage the world’s real-time data, Pachube gives people the power to share, collaborate, and make use of information generated from the world around them.” Now called COSM.COM
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