Af Agnija Rubene, Christine Hauge Ringsmose, Mikkel Horsbøl Lauridsen og Tobias Theil Konishi Morphogenetic studio under Claus Peder Pedersen, Sebastian Gmelin og Niels Martin Larsen, Arkitektskolen Aarhus

We have been mapping the principles of swarming in ant colonies, and explored how to apply these principles in morphogenesis – form finding. In order to do this, we have used various digital tools, such as “Processing”, “Monkey”, “Grasshopper” as well as physical model.

In physical model we analyzed the principles of ant behavior, and we tried with different models to develop a system which could represent the ants as building blocks.

We came to understand, that even a primitive insect as the ant working together in a swarm performs extremely complex tasks. This is done using a relatively simple set of rules which can be translated into a software language such as “Processing”. With this software we were able to replicate the way ants leave trails behind them. We were also able to use a script to copy the ants aggregation principle to place attractors in our script.

The trails produced in the digital model needed some form of geometry which could be bend in any direction of space to fit the trail direction. Therefore we developed a system with strips which fold along the trails. To do this digitally a script was written in the Rhino plugin, Monkey.

To connect the modules representing the trails, we used another Rhino plugin, Grasshopper, to produce the joints. Finally the modules and joints were laser cut and the model was assembled in our studio.

The appearance of the model is a seemingly chaotic system, but when you start to follow each trail you will discover that all trails visit the same places before arriving at their destination. The model has been inspired by the behavior of ants, but shouldn’t be seen as a diagram for explaining the complex principles ants work with.

Watch here the book explaining the process and the final piece.


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