Mosquito Project

A project by the design collective The Ponies, researching the use of so-called mosquito boxes in public space.

This research project of The Ponies responds to the Mosquito boxes that are present in some public spaces in Rotterdam.  These Mosquito boxes use a high frequency that can only be heard by young people – under the age of twenty-five – to drive away loitering youths. This technology has been classified as 'contrary to human rights' in municipalities such as Amsterdam and Utrecht, but is in use in Rotterdam. The Mosquito is not illegal; there is no national law that says it is not allowed. In the UK these boxes are are used to combat armed street conflict. In fact, it's a sonic weapon.

The frequency used in the Mosquito boxes has an effect on nature, not just on people. Together with Rotterdam city ecologists Andre de Baerdemaeker and Niels de Zwartm and the sonology department of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague The Ponies research these effects. In addition, they will also discuss the use with the municipality, residents and young people under the age of twenty-five (who can receive the frequency).

An issue which is at stake here is: who is in control of public space? At the moment, a select group of citizens is authorised to carry out violence in public spaces, simply by calling a number that triggers the Mosquito...

In order to gain insight into the situation, The Ponies  conduct preliminary research. They research the legislation around the Mosquito boxes, its technology and the data-management. They also research the making of an 'anti sound' that would neutralise or democratises the frequency used by the Mosquito boxes. This would enable to open a telephone number that can be used to stop the Mosquito.

As part of the research they have conducted a workshop with students of Artez. They invited Donald van der Laan – importer of the Mosquito boxes – to talk about his passion for battling crime in public space, conducted on site research, and dived into the understanding of sound waves with Andy Moor and Stefano Zucchini.

The project is an initiative of The Ponies in collaboration with Andy Moor (The Ex).

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