One of the largest animals in our natural world is terrified of one of the tiniest creatures. Elephants are fearful of bees. It’s not exactly clear why, especially as it’s debatable whether the bee can actually sting through the tough elephant hide, though they could get to their eyes or other softer parts. Recent research shows when elephants encounter bees, they run away, and send sonic alarm messages to other elephants about the danger. While this sounds kind of sad for the big animals, their fear of bees may actually save them. In Africa, natural beehive fences are being used to keep elephants safe from wandering too far, encountering hunters, or ravaging neighboring farms.
A single empty yellow chair sits next to Heather Swan’s tall, buzzing beehive in her backyard in Madison, Wisconsin. Swan keeps it there to sit next to the bees — some 60,000 insects —and talk with them.
Sound artist Vivienne Corringham takes us on one of her "shadow walks," where she records local spaces and how they affect the people who live there, then "sings the walk" through vocal improvisations.
Well, maybe not all of them. But we'd like to get there! In "Listening to the City" we travel from New York to Los Angeles to Jacksonville to Baltimore and beyond, seeking to better understand the urban environment through some seriously close listening.