Tech Art by Rob Gonsalves
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Swarming 2014   
Swarming is an interactive exhibit that features brightly colored felt sculptures of organic and playful shapes by Anna Kristina Goransson, brought to life in an immersive audio-visual environment by Rob Gonsalves..
Dimensions: 8.5 ft x 6.4 ft
Materials: Felt, computer with custom software, Kinect interface, video projectors, speakers
Thirteen red and orange wall-mounted, felted "pods" are home to flocks of red and orange animated "boids". Visitors are invited to step in and play with the boids, as they dart about exhibiting flocking and feeding behaviors. A computer rigged with a Microsoft Kinect interface monitors the motion of human visitors and controls the video projection and the immersive soundscape.

The installation has four modes of interaction:
  • Sleeping - (silent) After 30 seconds without human interaction, the flying “boids” will go back to their pods to sleep.
  • Scouting - (silent) Small groups of boids will come out to explore and then go back to their pods.
  • Swarming - When visitors approach, the boids will come out, swarm around, and occasionally feed on the pods.
  • Interacting - When visitors wave their hands in the air, they will interact with the boids.
Several open source software projects were used in this installation:
  • OpenFrameworks - an open-source C++ library for creative coding
  • ofxKinectNui - Sadam Fujioka's addon using the Microsoft Kinect
  • ofxBoids - a flocking motion addon for by Satoshi Okami
With their installation, Gonsalves and Goransson combine traditional sculpture with interactive media to create a unique and engaging encounter with a flock of other-worldly creatures, bringing a renewed sense of discovery and wonderment.

Rob and Kristina would like to thank Jennifer Lim for her help with this installation.

Swarming was shown at Pawtucket COLLISION:Stealing from the Real: Simulation and sense making, Machines with Magnets, Pawtucket, RI, Nov 19 to Dec 17, 2015
Swarming was shown at COLLISION:Stealing from the Real: Simulation and sense making, Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Boston, MA, May 28 to Jun 28, 2015
Swarming was shown at International TECHstyle Art Biennial 3 (ITAB), San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, CA, Jul 26 to Nov 09, 2014

© 2014 Rob Gonsalves and Anna Kristina Goransson