Herd & Hovering: Artists inspired by science
Blair Costelloe of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and member of the Cluster of Excellence Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour (CASCB) at the University of Konstanz researches herd behaviour as part of the Herd Hover project. "Using drones and machine learning, we are answering questions relating to collective detection, decision-making and movement of wild animals in their natural environments," the biologist explains. She wants to find out how movement and behaviour at the individual and group levels are influenced by social and environmental factors.
A topic that also fascinates artists: "I was intrigued by a scene in a video about the project in which you could see floating coloured hemispheres representing animals in a 3D landscape of the savannah," recalls Mario Doulis, professor at the Merz Akademie. "It looked like Smarties moving in the wilderness". He decided to let students artistically implement the project in a course at the Merz Akademie, University of Applied Art, Design and Media in Stuttgart. For one semester, nine students worked on designs under the supervision of Mario Doulis and his colleagues Professor Joost Bottema and Jörg Frohnmayer, and in close communication with postdoctoral researcher Blair Costelloe.
"The multiple aspects of the Herd Hover project allowed our students to work on different designs," Doulis says. These range from a 3D documentation of the design process in virtual reality to a 3D animated video, a typeface, an animated poster, a scrollytelling website and card game development. Even fashion has been created. "I was impressed with the students' creativity and professionalism," says Blair Costelloe. "It was a joy to see my project anew through their eyes".
Caption: Elisabeth Böker, Vincent Gössler, Isabel Carolin Kohlhagen, Luis Lavadinho, Luis Weiler