Ulla Nolden’s Pure Movement series articulates her perception of the beauty of movement itself, separate from the entities which produce it. Pure Movement 3 is the result of her fascination with the varied yet balanced movement of insect swarms. She experiences the visual perception of movement as accumulative. Over time, Nolden layers observations of similar movements to form one complete percept. As part of this process, the rules governing the movement are clarified, formalised and translated into computational instructions. Nolden’s computational representation of swarm behaviour draws on the work of Craig W. Reynolds and Daniel Shiffman. Although based on very simple behavioural rules, the resulting group movement becomes very complex.
Nolden states: “Every member in a swarm is autonomous, there is no leader. The movement is created by each entity following a set of behavioural rules: align with the movements of your neighbours, move toward the average of your neighbours’ positions, keep at a distance from your neighbours, move towards a specified point in space, wander aimlessly.” And further on her process: “I visualise the abstract algorithm using the aesthetic language I developed in my photographic work. I situate the algorithm in different environments. For this work I place the movement into the digital frame of an image taken from the EVERYDAY project, a daily photographic record of my visual perception.”