It’s a 2.5m-long camera which scans the border between the public and hidden spaces of the gallery, and will be whirring away creating large photographs all evening. It is an homage to Kubrick and Tarkovsky, and a prototype for a system that I’ll be using in Norway over the coming weeks.
An entymological adventure coaxing choreography from a company of obstinate insects
As humans, we are used to hierarchical control systems. Ants are different – they use pheromones to communicate and connect with each other, building complex networks from simple feedback loops.
Working with a team of chemical scientists and entomologists, Ant Ballet is an attempt to ‘hack’ the communication protocols of ants. Witness the trials and tribulations of the first attempts to create choreography, and intercontinental ant colony communication through the use of synthesised chemical compounds.
Ollie Palmer is an artist and designer. Based at the Bartlett School of Architecture, he is a tutor in RC3 on the Graduate Architectural Design course. He has travelled around the world, hitchhiked across Iceland and taught IT skills in the heart of the Amazon. He is a collaborator with Open_H20 (developing open source oceanic technologies) and a Getty Images contributing photographer.
I taught a workshop with Ruairi Glynn for the Adaptive Architectural Computation and our very own Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Over the course of 9 days, students learnt to prototype and build small interactive electronic systems. Among the machines were a candy floss thrower, an Aurora Borealis emulator, and a three-person ping-pong ball game.
More details, and student projects to follow.
You can also listen to the interview, or even download it for your hard drive’s pleasure, here:
Sarah Lester wrote a particularly lovely article about the Ant Ballet in the brand-new Journal of Wild Culture after we spent a day together dressed in emergency ant invasion clothing. You can read her article here.
The new Bartlett GAD catalogue is out, featuring the work of fifteen of our RC3 students.
Congratulations to all of our students, and welcome to the new set who have just joined us.
Many thanks to Simon Kennedy for his ongoing support and photography throughout the year, and Sam McElhinney for painstaking attention to detail with theses. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Professor Stephen Gage and Ruairi Glynn teaching in this cluster.
Here’s a video that FutureEverything made explaining a little about the Ant Ballet project, as installed at FutureEverything’s art exhibition earlier this year. It shows the simulation-version of the Ant Ballet machine in the spectacular setting of Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).
And speaking of MOSI, Here’s Jean Franczyk, its Director, talking through the exhibition, its links with FutureEverything, and some of the artworks on show:
Recently I’ve been helping out my friend and colleague Ruairi Glynn with his latest installation Fearful Symmetry at the Tate Tanks, as part of the Undercurrent programme. Building upon themes from his earlier projects Performative Ecologies (the piece that got me into this world in the first place) and Motive Colliques, he has built the world’s largest delta robot, with the express intention of investigating our perception of movement.
The piece is currently residing in a warehouse somewhere in the east of London, but will be open to the public in the Tate Tanks between 21-22 August 2012. There’s a private view in the evening of the 22nd – if you’d like to come along, please do drop me an email!
NB – I’ll be updating this page as the project develops with more photos, videos, press clippings, etc.
I made these idents for Wired magazine’s October issue, featuring Ant Ballet. The animations use the same pheromone-patch system as I used on the installation version of Ant Ballet, where virtual ants lay and follow each others’ pheromone trails, which fade over time.