swarm

Installation views at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (September, 1998). Mixed media, electronics, sound (dimensions variable)



In Swarm, an assortment of tiny electric fans are suspended across a space above a number of ultrasound sensors. As the fans spin, the motion of their blades is transduced and heard as a low rumble that corresponds in pitch to the rate of their rotation. Through electronic control the fans' speeds vary over time in a series of flocking patterns, with the entire swarm occasionally spinning or changing speeds in unison and at other times in separate groupings. Like information through crowds, these patterns of movement follow quick and unpredictable paths as they articulate a perpetually shifting terrain of alignment and realignment. Alluding to themes of instability and physical force, technological acuity and hazard, and collective will, Swarm is an image of a living entity awakened and intoxicated by a sound of its own making.