Drawing Ant

Drawing Ant
Project proposal for PI 1, MTAD 3ED.

Drawing Ants
Exploring Moist Media.

Drawing Ants, is an installation that gives living ants the unconscious ability to draw images.
It aims to symbolize, explore possible aesthetics that result from the interaction between nature and technology, it encourages critical discussion on the ethics involved. ” Drawing Ants ” naively positions itself in the emerging Moist Media / Bio Art domain and uses established Digital Arts techniques.

Why Ants ?
In my quest for digital art projects that include living organisms,  or in other words a project that combines Digital and Bio Art, my initial idea was to use Bacteria. After some research it became clear that working with Bacteria is not as easy as one might think, besides not being easy it is also potentially dangerous. Not giving up on the idea of working with bacteria at some point, but realizing that i needed to find something else for now i started looking for something that would allow me to start working with living organisms straight away.

The major problems with Bacteria are.
To cultivate bacteria that show interesting behavior patterns is not trivial, as it requires a decent understanding of micro-biology. It also requires a quiet rigorous controlled environment.
To be able to see bacteria one needs rather expensive equipment, a decent entry level microscope will cost around 300€. This type of microscopes would still only allow you to study bacteria by the millions, isolating one or a few bacteria requires a lot more expensive equipment.

To make things easier i needed to find living organisms that where a lot bigger so that i could use a normal camera to observe them, and their cultivation should be a lot more accessible. The logical answer to solve my problem became obvious, Ants.

More info on Ants
Valuable links to further one´s interest in Ants.

Ants – Nature’s Secret Power
In this documentary we will be transported into the world of ants through the eyes of Bert Hoelldobler, a world authority on these amazing animals. What animal has achieved immortality? What animal is the most warlike? What animal has the greatest supercity on the planet? Not man but ants. They are the real success story. It is only their tiny size and our vanity that allows us to hold onto the myth of our supremacy. Ants rule the planet. They are found in more habitats from far northern Finland to the sweltering tropics. The largest colony known of these insects is in Japan, where 306 million ants, with 1 million queens, in 45,000 colonies spread over 270 hectares. The fiercest warriors on earth are the slave maker ants. Other ants have barracks and sentry posts to protect themselves against surprise attack. Bert Hoelldobler, friend of world renowned scientist Edward Wilson, is a world authority on these amazing animals. He has dedicated his life, travelling around the world, to understand these. Through his eyes and his words we will be transported into the world of the ants. A world more wonderful and bizarre than any science fiction. “Ants” will reveal this alien world for the first time, in the company of a true authority and enthusiast.
Winner of: International Wildlife Film Festival Missoula (USA): “Best TV-Program” and “Best Educational Value” & NaturVision 2005: Best International Contribution / Best Camera


The Ultimate Guide: Ants
The complex societies of ants are shown with close-up camera work in Ultimate Guide: Ants, a Discovery Channel production. Despite their small size, ants are able to work together to accomplish their goals, and different species have evolved that work in diverse ways. Some ants are able to cultivate their own food in the form of a fungus, while others prey on other insects. Army ants will attack reptiles and animals in their continuing search for food. This series utilizes computer graphics to enhance the narrative and features entomologists, who offer their commentary about these interesting insects.
Discovery Channel – Ultimate Guide The Ants

Other projects based on Ants.
The Ants: A Community of Microrobots

Interesting and inspiring articles on Bio Art.

A notably influential artist and theorist Roy Ascott.

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