Stigmergy Installation

Check out this installation supported by the Welcome Trust.

People walking along Euston Road will encounter an unusually arresting reflection of themselves in a new light installation, ‘Reflex’, created by rAndom International.

The work inhabits the windows of the Wellcome Trust as though it were a living organism. Reacting to viewers, passers-by and traffic on Euston Road, ‘Reflex’ produces mesmerising flows of light, inviting a physical response to the building.

The installation’s swarming behaviour is based on an algorithm developed to emulate the collective decision making that we see in large groups of creatures such as birds or ants.

The work is constructed from hundreds of brass rods and thousands of LEDs arranged on small custom chips. Their movement is based on programmes that aim to simulate complex natural phenomena. ‘Reflex’ recreates “stigmergy”, whereby traces left by random actions stimulate further actions that build on one another, leading to the spontaneous emergence of apparently patterned activity. rAndom’s work allows for error, experimentation and unpredictability, and ‘Reflex’ encourages its viewers to see how they can influence the work.