Flocking

Alexander Gross
Custom Application, Processing
March 2008

Back to Projects
Flocking
This video is an excerpt of time-lapse documentation from a video installation. The installation captured one frame for each minute of the installation. This excerpt documents approximately 2 days of the installation. During the installation the viewer sees two flocks of Boids "flying" over the screen creating the background image. This time-lapse records only the drawn background image.



This code is a modification of the traditonal type flocking algortihm used to simulate the flocking behavior of birds. I created white birds and black birds, and proggrammed them to leave a thin transparent trail, in white or black, wherever they flew. I also had them look at a hidden source image, thus coding for them an environment. I added an additional rule to the algorithm which make white birds fly preferencially towards light areas of the image, and the opposite for the black bird. What occurs is that an image is very slowly drawn that begin to resemble the source image. This program can be attached to video, and thus become like a incredibly small pinhole camera which will never overexpose the film. As the scene changes, the new image gradually overwrites the old. For the web version it pulls from a static image of the Alaskan mountains where I recently travelled. I had the opportunity to see many ravens and eagles engage in such an air dance. This piece recently won an award at the graduate student.

Follow this link to view an online version of this piece looks like in action. The online version draws from a still image as opposed to live video.