Prof. dr. ing. Hendrik Richter // The Art of Sand Bubbler Crabs

Congo Congress Committee

With the utmost pleasure we, the Conference Committee, would like to announce the first speaker of Congo’s Conference 2018/2019:
Prof. dr. ing. Hendrik Richter.

An interesting branch of biology deals with animal behaviour. Particularly the behaviour of simple life forms can often be understood as to follow certain rules, which in turn can be expressed by an algorithmic description.
A main idea of generative art is that the art work is created by an autonomous, non-human system, frequently by setting up an algorithmic framework that gains functional autonomy and may develop over time. In other words, in generative art the “artist” creates an algorithmic process and sets it into motion. Subsequently, the dynamics of the algorithmic process generates the art work. As in nature we frequently observe structures and process that are aesthetically pleasing and surprisingly beautiful, is appears natural to take inspiration from biology for generative art.

The talk uses the example of the collective feeding behaviour of sand bubbler crabs. Sand-bubblers are tiny crabs dwelling tropical beaches. Their feeding behaviour involves creating patterns consisting of tiny sand balls that are placed in curves or spirals, straight or bent lines, which finally form overall structures, thus producing astonishing works of natural art. The algorithms presented produce generative art by recreating these patterns. In nature, the patterns are monochromatic as the balls all have the colour of the sand they are made from. The artistic interpretation of the patterns suggests using colours for making them visually more appealing.

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