Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons, the collaborative group of artists known as Owl Project, are spending time in Fineshade Wood exploring the forest floor, lifting up logs and looking under stones to film ants going about their business. Using cameras and software to visualise the routes taken by these creatures to allow for what seems like chaos to be rendered as pattern.
The resulting new work, The Algorithm in the Forest, is a multichannel video and sound installation that explores how natural systems have inspired algorithms that impact how we experience our daily lives.
Computer Science has a history of mimicking and simulating nature but not all algorithms need to be encoded in a computer – we are surrounded by naturally occurring algorithms. Nature knows nothing of bits, bytes, JAVA or C++ but expresses itself through things like hormones, pheromones and DNA. Ants use pheromones to regulate colony activities, lay down routes to resources and to plot effective pathways around obstacles. Simulation of this process has been instrumental in developing ways of optimising human deliveries.
The installation will also be informed by work made with students from Newton Road School and by members of the public.
The Algorithm in the Forest will launch at
Friday 28 June
From 6pm, with a talk led by the artists from 7 – 8.30pm prompt
Owl Project are also leading a free drop in workshop for members of the public on Wednesday 26 June from between 10am and 5pm. A small group of people are invited to become Owl Assistants during the day to make systems and tools that visualise and sonify trails in the forest.
Drop in at The Arches or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.