Fox Serenades and Other Songs
By Nathan Hayden and Fox(s)

Started on: 04/22/09 19:04:33
Medium: Performance

The last time I went to Santa Cruz Island Masha Lifshin, Shane Tolbert and myself stayed up late sitting around a campfire. I began to sing my friends songs. After singing a few songs I noticed a rustling in a nearby bush. Upon shining a flashlight onto the bush I realized that there was an island fox sitting there and watching us. Who knows if my singing had attracted the fox or if it was more of a general curiosity that had brought the fox that close to us.

If animals can sense fear in human animals then might they not sense this tone expressed in song? This is the question that I plan to play with for this project.

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Comment by mlifshin (04/30/09 02:14:41):
Yes, what a lovely evening around the camp fire! I also remember we explored further in search of the fox and we saw three sets of eyes, clustered together at slightly different heights, in the woods across the field. They seemed to be foxes, and were certainly within hearing of the campfire area.

Project Updates
04/22/09 19:13:26 - hammin' it up

For the first trip of the class Interspecies Collaboration we visited Lil’ Orphan Hammies, a farm dedicated to rescuing and taking care of mistreated pot belly pigs. While on the farm I found one particularly active pig that was busy scratching itself up against some shrubbery. I began to sing my best rendition of Johnny Cash’s Let the Train Blow the Whistle When I Go. As soon as I began singing the pig stopped scratching and lay down to go to sleep. This direct correspondence to my singing does not prove much since lying down and sleeping are two of the activities that the pigs take part in most frequently. However, this pig began to snore in a very rhythmic way that added a lot to this particular rendition of the song. It was more comical as the sound of the train whistle that song’s lyrics describe was coupled with this rhythmic pig’s snoring.

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04/22/09 19:20:08 - Fox Serenade the Remix

On my most recent trip to Santa Cruz Island I attempted to attract the fox through singing around the campfire for a second time to experiment with the idea that I could indeed lure the fox into coming around through song. On the first night I sang around the fire and there was lots of rustling. Though I did not see the fox, Masha, who was there for a second time, spotted it on the way to the bathroom. Apparently the fox was curious about something. The next night I decided to sing without the company of other human animals. I went to the edge of the cleared land belonging to the research facilities and I sang into the darkness of the wilderness and the night. I heard no rustling and I could see nothing except my own imagined patterns in the blackness. Further experimentation is needed.

[Write Comment]

Comment by mlifshin (04/30/09 02:17:05):
Yes, further experimentation is definitely needed. You should make this into a proposal to return to Santa Cruz Island!