PARTICLE SWARM MAPS is an exercise in digital cartography and participatory mapping that reproduces abstract animated maps of public spaces using social media data. The series reproduces a time lapse “map” of a city through tracing the movement of people across it via Instagram location tags — recreating the outline of the city through human activity rather than predetermined geographies. The digital process involved an algorithm that pulled public social media data to create autonomously programmed objects from a given city (London pictured here) that moved across the screen. The lines in the images are produced by swarms of movement from these object, which leave traces in the form of varying colors and textures.The phenomenon of particle swarm refers to the behavior of biological agents to move en masse in a seemingly coordinated fashion by constantly reacting to their nearest neighbors.
The end result was displayed as a video projection at a curated show at the San Francisco Arts Institute, and displayed as a series of prints with the San Francisco Women Artist’s Gallery where it won Juror’s Choice.