Drawing lessons for ants


Session Title:

  • Transformative Creativity - Participatory Practices I

Presentation Title:

  • Drawing lessons for ants



  • Abstract

    Why ants? And why should they need drawing lessons? Let me try and explain.                          We normally see ants from an aerial point of view, as lines of dots on a flattish plane. The connection with drawing – you may think – must be to do with laying trails of sugar: the paths they make in sand, a miniature Richard Long walking drawing seen from the sky; or perhaps SimAnt, Will Wright’s predecessor of the Sims; or the ‘marching ants’ of the selection tool. But here I am speculating about drawing, about the clash of values between digital drawing and supposedly traditional methods. What if we took this quite different perspective, the ant’s point of view? What would ants’ feel about the drawing process? Perhaps they follow unquestioningly a rigid dogma. Perhaps they don’t think about it at all. I am not an ant expert. They may well be communicating something to each other that counts as drawing, but that we would fail to recognize as such. They may be immersed in their art history, their own personal mark making. But I doubt whether they would take any interest at all in our culture of life drawing. Observational drawing would not make much sense. They really do see the world differently.