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The Art of Swarms

The Spaxels were just the beginning of a long journey into the future of the Ars Electronica Futurelab

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The aesthetic formations of a swarm of illuminated quadcopters in the night sky above Linz caused a worldwide sensation and enthusiasm now nine years ago and has inspired the whole world to follow this trend. But these Spaxels were only the beginning of a long journey to the future of the Ars Electronica Futurelab. Over the years, their precisely programmed choreography has evolved into a whole series of impressive performances: Artificial swarms inspired by the realm of nature. From the three-dimensional aerial space to the flat ground of the earth: The Lab directed up to one hundred drones and ground robots through a wide variety of dimensions. But how must formations consisting of several drones or robots act to create the best conditions for aesthetic artificial collectives in the field of tension between autonomy and cooperation?

In The Art of Swarms, the sixth episode of the 25th Anniversary Series of the Ars Electronica Futurelab, Peter Holzkorn, Key Researcher and Artist in the Lab, will set out on the trail of that hidden structure behind this network of systems and reveals a wide range of possibilities for using them in the future for innovations at the boundary between art and technology. Learn more about swarm art and the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s inspiring performances of Artificial Collectives and how to teach groups of machines autonomy, cooperation and expression.

By the way, five more episodes have been published in this series: Virtual Worlds, Poetic Systems, Creative (Artificial) Intelligence, Humanity & Robotinity, Computation & Beyond and Art Thinking. Alchemists of the Future, the eighth and final episode, will be presented within the framework of the Ars Electronica Festival 2021.