Hill Climbing With Random Restarts <
installation view, Spor Klübü, Berlin
2 channel video installation. 180 mins (2017)

The installation shows the start and end point of an "induced emigration" of a colony of Temothorax (aka house-hunting) ants filmed in real time. It is a re-staging of a laboratory experiment simulating a natural disaster in which an ant nest is destroyed by removing the roof and forcing the colony to search out and move into a new home. Such experiments are used to study collective decision-making processes and have been used to programme optimization algorithms.
In preparation for the experiment the tiny ants (each is 1-1.5mm in size) that in the wild live in hollowed out acorns, are marked with acrylic paint allowing the ants to be viewed and tracked as individuals. Each video shows an ant home made of two glass microscope slides sandwiching a layer of clear perspex with an oval shape cut out of it. One video shows the ants moving out of their home, the other shows them moving into a new one.