Flight Patterns
By James Rowan, Ant(s) and Bee(s)

Started on: 04/14/10 16:55:33
Medium: Visual

I was thinking about collaborating with non human animals of a smaller size, such as ants or bees that we see almost every day. I like the concept that these insects communicate to one another through their movements, and that although they seem erratic, there is a very intentional undertone to them. I was thinking of possibly mapping their patterns, allowing the insects to dictate what the final image would be, or creating some kind of movement/dance in relation to their own movements. I know that it would for sure look goofy, but I'm sure I can find a way to pull it off.
Another idea was to create something that would attract ants and that they could push around, creating an image perhaps that is of their own making. We might run into some problems with that though because we do not want to harm the insects in any way, just collaborate with them, and they are a very delicate species.
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Project Updates
04/14/10 16:57:46 - title update

The title may be a little misleading, its not only about flight pattern but involves other motions. My amended title would be "Flight Patterns and Other Motions of Smaller Species"

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05/27/10 12:42:20 - bird flight

I recently began documenting flight patterns, but it was not of insects like I had originally planned. I have been noticing several instances of smaller birds fighting hawks around my house. I'm sure that the smaller birds have a nest nearby, especially because it is spring and mating season and the birds are much more territorial. It appears that they would rather risk their own safety to fight off a predator that is much larger in size and more dangerous than they are. For the past few weeks, I have noticed these aerial fights take place right over our apartment complex. There are a few things that made me want to collaborate with these birds, but the most important was the beauty and skill with which they moved, as well the diversity of motions that they make.

I started physically depicting their flight patterns just recently. There are some very beautiful movements, as if it were a deadly serious dance. The smaller birds never go below the hawk, always attacking from above and then quickly pulling back up. This makes sense, seeing as if they got below the hawk it could quickly snatch one out of the air with its talons. It always seems that one bird does long, swooping turns and dives onto the hawk while its partner attacks the hawk quickly and violently. The birds make large and small swooping patterns and are much more mobile than the large hawk. Since the hawk cannot move quickly enough to attack the birds, it must simply evade. This is not an easy task because even when the hawk is trying to get away, the smaller birds continue to peck and pester it until they are sure its not coming back.

For this project, I have documented the flight patterns of these birds. The paper they are on represents the horizon, and their path through it. Thicker lines show when the birds were coming closer to me and the thinner lines are when it was going away. It shows essentially a time-lapse view of the events unfolding, and reveal a beautiful depiction in the patterns that these birds fly in.

heres an example of the birds fighting off a hawk

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