This work was developed during a residency at La Postiza, and was selected by Brainchild Festival to be screened at a BYOB (Bring you own beamer) night at Platform, London.

ant_colony_optimization is a video that examines nature’s influence on the development of computer technology. Nature-inspired algorithms are a field of computing that observes and simulates behavioural patterns of swarms of animals and insects in order to find solutions to problems. The Ant Colony Optimization algorithm was one of the first of this kind, created to search for an optimal path in a graph.

This video started out as a simple, childlike fascination with the ants nest that was situated in our garden during a  residency in Spain. Most days we would film the ants with our phones as they would collect food, guard their nest and battle one another. We also made an ant-sized green screen from a post-it note. There was something about the collective behaviour and long lines of communication that was reminiscent of our human relationship with online worlds. After stumbling across the field of nature-insipred algorithms, we soon noted the irony of how nature had reminded us of technology, when it was the technology itself that attempted to replicate nature.

As well as the iPhone recordings, the video consists of found footage from YouTube of ant simulation software to generate the Ant Colony Optimization algorithm, and animations of a two-dimensional Turing Machine called Langton’s Ant. There is also in-game footage of an indie game created in 48 hrs called Ant Simulator, that places the player in the body of an ant.

Press - “BYOB: The Exhibition Projecting Digital Art Worldwide”, i-D

Stills from ant_colony_optimization