Drawing by Ants

My paper Pherographia: Drawing by Ants appears in the current volume and issue of Leonardo Journal (Vol.43, issue 2). Here is the abstract:

ABSTRACT: This paper addresses the hypothetical relationship of photography and so-called pheromone maps created by an artificial life system that simulates an ant colony and causes its activity to evolve based on the contours of images. Pheromone—used by ants to communicate via the environment—is also simulated, and from the communication and interaction of the swarm with the environment (an image) there results a kind of drawing made with the simulated pheromone. Since ants are able to detect the edges of the image, the outcome is a sketch that resembles the original image, as with old camera obscura drawings. This text explores the observable traits shared by the photographic process and the swarm’s pheromone maps. The theme is discussed in the context of the emergent artificial art research field; recent theoretical advances that link swarm intelligence and cognitive sciences are also addressed.

Carlos M. Fernandes