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Monday, August 8, 2011

Sound Artist Inspired By Fireflies

"Robotic Firefly" by China Blue

"Robotic Firefly" by China Blue

Artist China Blue is interested in the hidden acoustics of the world. She has attached microphones to the Eiffel Tower and created an audio homage to the World Trade Center using 9/11 air traffic control tapes. Now, she’s re-imagining fireflies and the sounds they make, out of concern that fireflies are disappearing from parts of the U.S.

China Blue’s work is currently on display at the Newport Art Museum. She tells Here & Now’s Robin Young about the robot firefly she makes, saying “it has guitar strings for legs and a flickering LED for the light in the butt, and then I put it in a jar… and it was born!”


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  • Roryn

    In Boston and on the south shore, I never get to see fireflies anymore. But I was at lake Winthrop earlier this summer and I saw more there than I’ve seen in my whole life. I wonder if there’s something to that.

  • Glen

    Plenty of fireflies here in North Andover, about 40 minutes north of Boston.

  • s.

    Vergennes VT here, and we are lucky to have about 4 acres of uncut pasture, and a silent symphony of fireflies put on spectacular shows just after dusk.

  • Laural Myers

    I saw a dozen fireflies last night.  Mountain Brook (Bham) AL

  • Dawn

    Southeastern Ohio–plenty of them everynight. 

  • Jadkins16

    We have fire flies here in Lafayette, Indiana. We had a good summer of them, my son has started keeping them in the house and I have to sneak in after he goes to sleep and let them go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1273296428 Mary Jones

    We still have them in the suburbs around Philadelphia, but it depends on how dark it gets around your house, whether you live in a town or not.  I was in Johnstown, PA a month ago, and there are tons of them out there.

    My husband’s uncle and aunt were out to visit us in the beginning of July; they live in Telluride, Colorado. They were apparently surprised by the number of fireflies–well, we call them lightning bugs–they saw in our backyard. So they’re still around.

    But I remember as a kid in the 80s, they were all over the place, even growing up in North Philly. I don’t know that you’ll find them there now.

  • Sonya

    More fireflies than usual in my yard, in NE Alabama, this year. Have always loved to watch them.

  • Wes Bunch

    Luckily, you can still see fireflies (or lightning bugs as we call them) every night here in East Tennessee. In fact, my three year old daughter usually insists we go catch a few in the front yard each night before bedtime. She loves absolutely loves them. 

    On a side note, here’s a YouTube video of synchronous fireflies found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s really something to see. 


  • marilyn

    I see lots of fireflies in southeast Ohio, in Athens County. Pretty rural out here. It’s dark  so it’s easy to see them.

  • Pbergeron

    Several years ago we moved from Dorchester to Carlisle. Our new backyard was overgrown with multiple invasive plants crowding out ferns and some old Rhododendron. At dusk rabbits came out to munch on the weeds and later we saw multitudes of fireflies which we hadn’t seen since childhood. The next summer I cleaned out the invasive plants and neatened everything up.  The rabbits and fireflies disappeared. Over the summer I allowed a whole section to get overgrown again and the following summer the fireflies and rabbits were back I can live with a little jungle in my yard to see these wonderful creatures.

  • Jemimadiva

    I’ve lived in northeast Ohio all my life with a lot of summers in rural Pennsylvania.  I think the critter you’re calling a firefly is the little guy we’ve always called a lightning bug, and I’m so happy to say I’ve seen lots of them out here in New Franklin (Portage Lakes area of Akron, Ohio, right by the State Park), in our back yard.  I had no idea the were disappearing too…

  • Anita Squeglia

    We have a firefly frenzy in my  backyard in Murfreesboro, TN..  My four year old grandson is captivated by their wild dance.  Great story.


  • Shardy100

    Loads of fireflies in Lake Bluff,IL – 35 miles north of Chicago on Lake Michigan.  I see them everywhere when I walk my dog at night.

  • Porkynthepraire

    Apparently there are many gathered about a mile from my house, but a month ago I saw two following the path of a major thunderstorm down my road near Worden, Montana.

  • Jude

    I let a firefly land on me a week or so ago in my Evanston, Illinois yard.

  • Montobahn

    i saw a few fireflies the other night in my backyard down here in key west.   Richard

  • Asheng

    I live in Staten Island and haven’t seen a firefly (lightning bug ) in years

  • Kat

    Above the soybean and corn fields of northwest Ohio the lightning bugs or fireflies are alive and well. I always took them for granted until my cousin’s wife from Seattle visited. She had never seen them before!

  • Nancy

    My religious association camps at the Indiana Dunes State Park every year.  One of the most awe-inspiring experiences is walking down the dark road and seeing the bushes on both sides absolutely covered with fireflies.  Seemed to be more this year, but I couldn’t begin to count them.

  • Janet

    We live in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, the Blue Ridge/Appalachian region, near the town of Abingdon. We’ve had more fireflies this year than we’ve seen in a very long time. They seem to have arrived earlier and remained with us longer than any year in recent memory. It was a wet spring and early hot summer here; some old timers say the fireflies love warm damp evenings. Anyway, I love to see them decorate my lawn and trees. My evening yard looks like one wonderful party spot!

  • Jil

    We still have plenty of fireflies in Tuscaloosa, AL.

  • Russ

    I live in Bayport Long Island ,NY. I have seen a few fireflies,we call them lightning bugs. But not nearly as many as we used to. 

  • gjs

    Another typically Robin Young story: unpredictable, wonderful, honest, and full of surprise. The end of the story left me very silent, thinking.

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  • nobarney

    Having lived in Boston for almost 18 years, I was shocked on July 4th, 2011, while we were sitting on the top of Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, while watching the Boston fireworks display. Right in front of us was a lone firefly hovering in front of my 9 year old daughter. After we got a good look, it was gone. It was perhaps the only firefly I had ever seen in the metro area.

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