Swarm Study / XIII, 2018


Swarm Study / XIII, 2018

LEDs, brass rods, richlite, custom circuit boards, custom driver software and hardware, behavioural algorithm, computer


Since 2010, RANDOM INTERNATIONAL’s Swarm Studies have been exploring the distributed intelligence self-organising systems. In these works, individual light sources are imbued with a collective flocking behaviour, making a swarm-like formation manifest in light. Through its movement and behaviour, the swarm appears sentient.

Works in the series range from immediate, small-scale sculptures suited to the domestic sphere, to monumental site-specific installations such as Swarm Study / III in the collection of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, to the architectural intervention Swarm Study / IX which occupies the entire facade of Chemnitz Railway Station in Germany. Commissioned by the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Swarm Study / XIII is made up of one single, monolithic cube, which the illuminated Swarm inhabits.

Beyond exploring simulations of collective behaviour, the Swarm Study series further experiments with our own human visual instincts and sensory responses to minimal stimulus. We automatically read a Swarm Study as though an object were moving through its structure, when in actuality there only lights going on and off. As such the series questions the faculty of the human brain as a meaning making machine.