Anthesizer III Noise Garden

Play Video
Sound Installation
Byungkyu Lee
Piezo, Hydrostone Plaster, Acrylic Panels, Aquarium sand, Sculpt-It, Acrylic Paint, Epoxy Resin, Red Gel, Daisy Seed, LM386, Dayton BTS-1
ant sp.
Componotus fragilis, Pogonomyrmex Rugosus

Ant + Synthesizer
Soundscape of an ant colony in real time

Anthesizer III “Noise Garden ” focuses specifically on acoustic characteristics of two distinct species of ants — Camponotus fragilis, and Pogonomyrmex rugosus.

Just like the previous series, anthesizer III uses contact mics as primary sensors capturing the intricate sounds of ants. For elevating visual experience, a small mini cam is placed inside. In addition, the bass shakers(BTS-1) on the floor help you “feel” their footsteps from your feet, giving you a unique haptic experience.

Exhibited at Wavecave, CalArts

Awarded by Hasom Student PRoject Grant

Ant Behavior & Nest Design


Play Video

Camponotus fragilis

                                                     has a unique behavior called 

Camponotus fragilis has a unique behavior called 


;tapping their gaster(belly) rapidly on the surface as an alarm signal.

Previous slide
Next slide

Inspired by this behavior, the nest design resembles a drum set. The nest is made with tealight cups, red gels, and hydrostone. Each drum chamber has piezo contact mic inside.

They also have a tendency to hang around in between gaps and cracks. Origami roses made with thick papers not only provide them shelters but also good membranes to drum on!


Pogonomyrmex rugosus

                                                          are one of the infamous harvester ants from the desert known for their aggression and deadly stingers, actively collecting seeds for food.

They are also known for,

Pogonomyrmex rugosus are one of the infamous harvester ants from the desert known for their aggression and deadly stingers, actively collecting seeds.

They are also known for,

Play Video

 ;stridulatory organs on their gaster act like washboard’s ridges and create chirping sound when they are rubbed against another part. They use it for alarm, recruitment, or when they have to pass through a narrow space.

In that, the “paper/cassette maze” is designed specifically for them.

The narrow spaces between pieces of paper create an environment that not only make interesting sound texture as worker ants make their way through, but also trigger them to stridulate time to time.

Photography by Jinyeop

Technical Detail

1) Input Section

Previous slide
Next slide

A bundles of piezo mics are connected to each mono LM386 AmplifierInstead of using just one piezo per amplifier, I chose to use a bunch of them so that I can cover wider regions for the ants to step on.

It is important to use shielded cables for each piezo mics to prevent the electrical hum. All the LM386 amplifiers were powered by DC 12V.

It is a must to coat piezo mics with resin so that the ants do not bite and eventually tear off the connection part.

Play Video

Testing LM386 Amplifier with piezo installed in the nest from Anthesizer II.

2) Processing Section

Previous slide
Next slide

The audio signal picked up by piezo mics goes through the LM386 Amplifier, and now arrives Daisy Seed microcontroller’s audio inputs.

Daisy Seed is a microcontroller made by Electrosmith, which supports a number of languages including C++, Arduino, and Max/MSP gen~. Daisy Seeds were also powered by 12V DC, and I attached the heatsink for each just in case they get too hot.

I chose to make a simple DSP patch in MaxMSP which uses Oopsy library in gen~. I made a simple Flanger effects for one, and  modified Gigaverb patch for another. Here is the link to the patches in my gibhub.

10k potentiometers are connected to Daisy seed for controlling certain parameters of the MaxMSP gen~ patch such as delay time, damping, room size, etc. In this way, audience could interact more with the soundscape and make changes in real time by turning the knobs.

The knobs are made with air dry clay. They resemble the head of the worker ants of corresponding species.

3) Output Section

Previous slide
Next slide

Four speakers were used among six that are installed in the ceiling of the Wavecave.

MaxMSP was used in the control room for filtering out the sound to prevent feedback between the piezo and the speakers in mid frequency range.

For the haptic experience, I used two Dayton BTS-1 Bass Shaker and the wooden panel from Lowes. The output for BTS-1 Bass Shaker is lowpassed in the gen~. Audience step on this panel and feel the sound from the Anthesizer III through their feet!

There is CV(Control Voltage) Outputs that I made for collaboration with other musicians in the future. It comes from the DAC 1 pin of Daisy Seed, and I used RMS interpolation in gen~ to convert audio signal into digital signal smoothly.

Thank you for your visit ❣️

Thanks to:

Clay Chaplin
Eric Heep
Michael Bailey
Takumi Ogata

Limuy Asien


Daisy Seed Discord Server
Adafruit Discord Server
Max Discord Server
Ants & Ant Keeping Discord Server

my Mom & Dad

all of my ants

Nullam quis risus eget urna mollis ornare vel eu leo. Aenean lacinia bibendum nulla sed