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Insect MediaAn Archaeology of Animals and Technology$
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Jussi Parikka

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816667390

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816667390.001.0001

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Biomorphs and Boids

Biomorphs and Boids

Swarming Algorithms

(p.145) Six Biomorphs and Boids
Insect Media

Jussi Parikka

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter illustrates how the media archaeological context of 1980s digital culture inherited the nineteenth-century discourse of evolution and embodied faculties expressed through animal worlds. The entomological concept of swarming shows an alternative way to understand the life of algorithms as objects in interaction, as manifested in object-oriented programming. The ethological perspective of temporal unfolding and the primacy of variation affect not only biology, but also cognitive science and the design of technological culture. The chapter presents three examples of visual culture and nature becoming an algorithm: biomorphs, SimAnt, and boids. It shows a mapping of the biological turn in software around the 1980s, as well as the object-oriented programming as one form of insect bottom-up technics.

Keywords:   digital culture, swarming, algorithms, object-oriented programming, biomorphs, SimAnt, boids, 1980s software

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