Ant Ballet

Ant Ballet is a research project into control systems, paranoia and dancing insects. The project is separated into four phases:

Phase I

Phase I (2010-2012) included thorough research into ants and control systems, synthesis of ant pheromones and testing of these systems with live ants in Barcelona. Through use of synthesised pheromones (Z9:16 Ald Hexadecenal), a robotic arm lays trails which cause ants to move in a different way to their natural foraging behaviour. This phase proves the viability of the research and technologies.

Phase II

The first live performance of Ant Ballet.

Phase III

Development of intercontinental ant telecommunication devices.

Phase IV

Destruction (undetermined).

So far, Phase I has been completed.

More information

More information about this project can be found in Chapter 1 of my PhD thesis.

Public display

  • 2014 Big Data: Designing with the Materials of Life / Lethaby Gallery, Central St Martins, London
  • 2012 FutureEverything Festival / Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
  • 2011-12 London Zoo / London
  • 2011 Graduate Architectural Design Show / Bartlett School of Architecture, London



Design, art direction, programming, video, music editing by Ollie Palmer.

Some code has been adapted from Daniel Shiffman‘s book the Nature of Code.

Music remixed from “Untitled 13” by Lucky Dragons.

This project has been made possible thanks to: