ed.3 1
4 networked computers, 4 TFT-screens, 4 smart cards, plexiglas,
Computer programming: basic & C
Size: 172 x 32 x 29 cm

SwarmDots is based on the computer simulation of swarms. Swarming describes the behavior of a group of animals of similar size and body orientation, often moving en masse in the same direction. The title of the work can thus be understood as: a swarm of dots. The simulation of swarms belongs to the research field of artificial intelligence. It models the social behavior of a group of animals such as a swarm of bees. This analogy is based on the reduction to a limited amount of rules each of the individuals, so called 'agents' or 'boids' have to follow such as:
1. Follow the direction of the ones around you _ cohesion
2. Move away as soon as some comes to close _ Separation
3. Orient yourself towards the direction of your neighbours _ alignment

Each agent is following these simple rules creating a global structure, the swarm. Emergence is the spontaneous appearance of complex patterns, motives, arising from a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions, rules. Thus, the resulting patterns cannot be deduced from the simple description and understanding of one agent's rules. In comparison one just has to look at a bee and its behaviour in accordance to the swarm of bees.

Emergence is the key notion for the generative Artwork: SwarmDots. The project based on simple rules leads to a self organising system; self-organisation is a process of attraction and repulsion in


which the internal organization of a system increases in complexity without being guided or managed by an outside source. The result: a never-ending abstract play of lines and points which naturally cross the screens. But behind these motions are strict rules determining the motives. The reduction of the work to simple geometric forms aims to outline the inherent rules of the system. The work is the expression of a system oriented art, a meta-art, focusing rather on the creation of organism than its representation which is normally the subject of art.

SwarmDots is running on an 'art console' crafted by LAb[au], in form of a T-shaped Plexiglas box, integrating 4 stripped screens and 4 networked computers. The art-console is the result of LAb[au]'s research for an adequate sculptural format to present and create generative art.

Set of rules:
Separation weight
Alignment weight
Cohesion weight
Wander distance
Wander jitter
Collision radius
Evade weight
Max speed
Turn rate
Trail count
At system initialization:
200 agents by computer & 1 predator by computer

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