I want to track/map an entire murmuration of starlings and use the resulting pattern as a starting/end point. How? Maybe it is possible to use tagging or GPS? Maybe filming the phenomena and then using some kind of motion capture software to plot their movements?? The resulting patterns would be somehow converted into lasers/lights projected into an artificially created cloud/atmosphere within an enclosed space. The audience would enter the space and be able to move through the murmuration, potentially a magical experience. Maybe the space could be empty when they enter, almost a theatrical event; once inside the dark space fills with the artificial cloud (dry ice/atmos??) and the murmuration runs its course, the course the direct result of a real murmuration. The cloud would be the ‘canvas’ for the projected light.

Searching for films of murmurations I came across this guy…it’s a very promising starting point, the outcome is very different but his videos would suggest that it may be possible to track individual birds in post production somehow? There are two examples below, they’re brilliant (nb: now need to figure out how to do this…after effects, need to speak to Rich?) Maybe I could start on a smaller scale; individual bird, the cat, my housemate etc? Once I’ve established how to do this then I need to figure out how to turn it into a laser/light projection/data projection…do holograms exist yet? And a way of making an artificial cloud. Mist? Projections onto water mist could be a possibility (erm…one of them cost $15 million dollars so would need a fair bit of funding!) Fog? Came across this site whilst investigating this avenue….this could be the way to go…mists and fogs also would allow for the experience to happen outdoors as well..in super urban environments? What are the limitations scale wise of the fog machines? Once plotted maybe an animation made of tracing dots is made mimicking lasers (also like the idea of it looking like phosphorescence…this would influence the colour palette too…to me phosphorescence looks otherworldly…mirroring it through light/laser/digitally to represent each individual bird would be brilliant. If the experience took place within an enclosed space then the audience may lose their bearings…they could be underwater/in the cosmos/floating etc….maybe they enter a space on a raised transparent platform, initially unaware of this fact, when the murmuration begins it would also sweep below them…???!!! They would lose spatial boundaries etc? (This inspiration comes from an experience I had in Madagascar snorkeling at night in clouds of phosphorescence…something that blew my mind and an experience I would love to attempt to replicate through this project NB: maybe clouds of phosphorescence could be another version…maybe less dynamic but could also plunge the audience into an artificial cosmos both microscopic and macroscopic?) Shit, I’m excited.



Catrin pointed out a visual aesthetic shared between actual murmurations and the drawings made by machines I built…https://dbajournals.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/drawing-machines/

an example of a murmuration by Paolo Patrizi



Further spurs to investigate (a list for now)

  • Olafur Eliasson
  • Antony Gormley Blind Light
  • Marizion Marsh
  • Murmuration>audience facilitated through circumstance>virtual murmuration>25000 humans>each hold a device that represents a starling
  • I need to contact Stephen Votier > need to structure a cohesive email??> do tomorrow?>contacted on 09/10/14

Maquettes of Natural Phenomena?

I was thinking about the possibility of making maquettes of natural phenomena?; dynamic representations of murmurations, of flocks, of shoals, or swarms? Within smaller enclosed spaces could I somehow use air movements/temperature changes to animate dust/sand/glitter/iron filings etc?…changes in atmosphere? crystal kits from childhood. Could I channel air around an enclosed space so the dust/sand etc starts to flow in a pattern by reaching a critical weight then dissipating and the cycle continuing?

With iron filings maybe this could be done with magnets?: magnets that moved under the surface therefore manipulating the shapes above; a metaphor for the invisible web that interconnects everything on this planet. Just came across this artist, Alice Hope, while researching iron filings. I have just read the linked article; her work uses magnets and industrial materials such as BB pellets, buckshot and iron filings to build up seemingly organic growths that look like they could have grown themselves but are meticulously produced by Hope (rather a nice sentence appeared then??…meticulously produced by hope?), others do in fact ‘grow’ from the smaller components and in these instances Hope sees her role as “…farming and editing the growth.” This is a good turn of phrase and something that rings true with some of the projects I am researching and the role I would like to play in them, the idea of farming growth except I want the growth to come from something organic and alive. I also like the idea that some of her work is changed by the audience through touch and interaction; …”while everyone knows art’s ‘no touch’ role, my work inevitably gets touched and manipulated by viewers”. Also the patterns formed change every time certain pieces are re installed – the components and material rules/laws the same but their outcomes different?…again something that runs through some of my practice.

Holy shit…just found out about something ferrofluid, “a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field”. Could be a lot of fun to play with? Ten minutes later I found out that Sachiko Kodama, an artist from Japan has used ferrofluid very effectively…balls. Thinking about though it’s not right to think that I can’t use a material just because someone else has…that’d be bloody stupid..loads of people use oil paint and graphite for example. Guess it’s how I contextualise it, the reasoning behind using it…not just because it looks cool?

Ferrofluid ordered along with 216 spherical magnets, now need to figure out a solution and vessel to hold the ferrofluid in?

Further thinking about mapping a murmuration…current thinking is that the most feasible solution at present is too film a murmuration and then plot the movements in some kind of post production software (need to find out about it)…this data can then be used to programme some kind of lighting system? or an abstract film produced that can be projected into the space? gps tracking would still be best though..each individual’s path plotted from start to finish, that path converted into a path that a laser could follow?


possible maquette design that might or might not work


“The seismograph is made by human hand, but the drawings it creates are independent of it, made by the movements of the earth.” Boom! This is a very succinct sentence that goes some way to explaining what I’m up to with this project; as the facilitator of work created by the earth…the seismograph is one machine that does it…if I can develop a system that documents/plots a murmuration and then converts it into an installation revolving around lights and projection then I’m getting closser to what it is I want to achieve, to facilitate the production of images, experiences and installations created by something other than humans. In this case starlings, theoretically the list of collaborative combinations and creators involved is infinite.
























Above are a couple of examples from Christo and Jeanne-Claude 40 years 12 exhibitions; ambitious old projects…where do they get the funding from? I have included them because the drawings are really nice, some are for projects that haven’t been realised…both drawings and scale models. They have become pieces of work in their own right…I would like to start producing a book of possible project proposals, in as much detail as possible along these lines…a way of still producing work whilst working towards projects that may not be possible and will require substantial funding/planning: detailed proposals would also help to realise them.

The bottom right image of the wrapped trees in Switzerland from 1997-98 reminded of the wrapped trees produced by millions of spiders and other insects who were forced into the trees after unprecedented flooding in Pakistan in 2010…beautiful but really damaged the trees who provide vital shade and life to everything that lives near them…pakistan-floods-drive-spiders-into-trees-adult_34026_600x450











Mark Dion also creates these lovely screen printed plans/drawings for installations yet to exist…









http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1t4M2XnIhIgfhPuffer train