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. www.olliepalmer.com
I have been invited to give a talk about dancing ants at the Natures Stage of Wilderness Festival, taking place between 10-12 August 2012 in beautiful Oxfordshire. I can’t wait to get there and take in a wealth of music, talks, food and country air!
I know not everyone can make it to Manchester for FutureEverything, so took a couple of panoramic photosynths so that everyone can join in the fun. The exhibition is in the world’s first railway warehouse, so it’s a nice contrast between the peak of 1830’s physical technology and 2012’s (mostly) virtual!
First up is the elevator that takes people from the ground floor to the exhibition:
It’s been designed by Jörn Röder and Jonathan Pimay. Called fbFaces, it is the result of a script that trawled the web for public photos of people from and related to Manchester. There’s something of a Philip K Dick novel/Keiichi Matsuda experience in being surrounded by so many little avatars…
It has four screens showing documentary footage and theory about Ant Ballet, and a floating circular screen in the middle of the space with a robotic arm and simulation of ant trail following and disruption.
On the other side of the room is Brendan Oliver and Kasia Molga‘s The…. Based around David Bohm‘s philosophy that no human thought can be original, but rather a result of other thoughts in the world, it presents visitors with poetic (and non-Justin Bieber-related) Twitter feeds that are sent from one viewers’ shadow to another.
I’ll be talking about Ant Ballet at Dorkbot Cardiff as part of the Cardiff Design Festival on the 13th October 2011. Anybody with a curious sort of a nature is welcome – it’s free! If there’s any more incentive I can offer, it’s that they do a mean cocktail and probably the best selection of bottled beers in Cardydd.
More information about the roster of speakers available at the Dorkbot Cardiff website. The Facebook-inclined may also like to click here.
The Bartlett School of Architecture M.Arch show will be opening on the 27th September at Wates House. Amongst the myriad of interesting and bizarre projects will be an Ant Ballet machine, and some related films.
An entomological adventure coalescing choreography from (somewhat) obstinate insects
On the 13th September, I’ll be giving a 20 minute talk on the Ant Ballet – the madcap road trip to Barcelona to shoot a film about tiny ants following suspicious-looking trails. It will also be the first public outing of the Ant Ballet film. What’s more, it’s free, and the other people talking are pretty interesting too.
More details here