Painting Music with Pachyderms
Caretakers of animals in captivity use enrichment to keep species mind and bodies active. Objects and activities can use environmental, behavioral and social enrichment to improve animal welfare. These exercises and experiences frequently include objects that simulate natural behaviors, such as foraging or climbing. Art is a valuable form of enrichment used often in Zoos and Aquariums. More at: https://www.aza.org/enrichment.
The Elephant Artist
While painting with Kelly the elephant at Zoo Atlanta I noticed she avoided the color yellow. She demonstrated it by many releases of her paintbrush. I wanted to see if adding music would add to the experience and increase interaction of time spent on the activity.
To create this, a device named a Makey Makey is programmed to create sounds when the elephant’s paint brush touches the paint. The Makey Makey is connected by a cord to the keeper to ground it (who is touching the elephant’s trunk) and an additional cord to the paint palette. The code to create the music generation is developed in Processing.