“Swarm Raid” by Anna Lindemann, Ryan Glista


  • ©, , Swarm Raid

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    Swarm Raid

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Artist Statement:


    “Swarm Raid” acts as an interspecies meditation on social life. In this music and dance film, two of the most social creatures on earth—ants and humans—converge in a surreal trip to the grocery store inspired by the highly coordinated food gathering missions of the army ant species Eciton burchellii. The central character in the film experiences a kind of fever dream borne of social anxiety in which she witnesses crowds of humans becoming ant-like workers bringing offerings of food to their “ant queen,” performed by a virtuosic soprano. The ant queen invokes the refined choreography of the army ants as she sings “Pheromones, show the way! Coordinate the corps, of our Eciton ballet.” Meanwhile, humans dance in and around shopping carts and circle islands of produce in Busby Berkeley-inspired formations. Ultimately, distortions in the speed of the film reveal a manic, ant-like quality to the humans’ search for food. In all, the film draws connections between the ways that humans and ants communicate and find food, and, more importantly, reflects on collective behavior and social hierarchy in ants and humans.

    “Swarm Raid” was inspired by the Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection housed at the University of Connecticut, a world-class natural history collection of more than 2 million specimens. The music for “Swarm Raid” is scored for soprano and custom digital instruments and combines traditional through-composed music with musical textures developed using a generative approach to music composition modeled on biological processes. The film is directed by Anna Lindemann and Ryan Glista. Music by Lindemann; lyrics by Emma Komlos-Hrobsky; performance by soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, Lindemann, and fifty swarming members of the community.


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