Herd & Hovering: Artists inspired by science

Mario Doulis, Joost Bottema, Jörg Frohnmayer

Event Type


Field of Study

New Media

Date & Location

Fri, 02 Dec 2022, 12:00–16:00

Related Links

Explanatory Animation by Vincent Gössler

Herd & Hovering: When Artists Observe Science – Art Exhibition in the Foyer of the University of Konstanz

How do artists respond to the behaviour of herds of hoofed animals like zebras or antelopes? The art exhibition “Herd & Hovering” in the foyer of the University of Konstanz adopts scientific findings of animal behaviour research in artistic design – from 3D animations to fashion.

Blair Costelloe of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and member of the Cluster of Excellence Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour (CASCB) at the University of Konstanz researches herd behaviour as part of the Herd Hover project. “Using drones and machine learning, we are answering questions relating to collective detection, decision-making and movement of wild animals in their natural environments,” the biologist explains. She wants to find out how movement and behaviour at the individual and group levels are influenced by social and environmental factors.

It was a topic that also interested New Media Professor Mario Doulis: “I was intrigued by a scene in a video about the project in which you could see floating coloured hemispheres representing animals in a 3D landscape of the savannah,” recalls Mario Doulis. “It looked like Smarties moving in the wilderness”. He decided to let students artistically implement the project in a course at the Merz Akademie. For one semester, nine students worked on designs under the supervision of Mario Doulis, Professor Joost Bottema and Jörg Frohnmayer, and in close communication with postdoctoral researcher Blair Costelloe.