Pattern Pulp

Artful Antfarms and Social Media


What do ants, art, fashion and social media have in common? We’ve been asking that very question ever since reading Noah Brier’s fascinating take on the power of colonization and it’s relation to the internet. The idea that “ants don’t really ever exist on their own, all their power comes from their ability to organize themselves in groups,” directly parallels social media’s impact online, particularly in relation to traffic, viral marketing and cross pollination.

The use of ant farms to contextualize larger societal microcosms have been popping up in every media form, from literal depictions in Mad Men to more abstract print parallels, such as this Hermès map of Paris. Toying with the idea of national identity and cross pollination, Japanese artist, Yukinori Yanagi brilliantly displays the world through the eyes of  the ant in his 1990 installation entitled, The World Flag Ant Farm. Using a series of interconnected boxes, each filled with colored sand in the pattern of a national flag, Yanagi releases a colony of ants into the system, allowing them to travel freely. “The border crossings” result in an intermingling of color throughout the system, a stunning visualization of our cross-cultural networks. Bringing this concept to the masses on a more playful scale, Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi merge ant farm living with brocade wallpaper patterns, proving mass mobilization can create tangible and beautiful results.

By: Shayna Kulik

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