Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons, the collaborative group of artists known as Owl Project, have been in residence at 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 render what seems like chaos 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.
As part of Owl Project’s residency, pupils from Newton Road School took part in a workshop with the artists, discovering and simulating naturally occurring patterns based on ant behaviour. The exhibition features work informed by these pupils and by participating members of the public.
Exhibition open daily 10am – 4pm
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