Art and science – ants as a superorganism
Artist’s impression. January 2020 Based on a digital work from 1990
A proposed art installation or mural showing multiple images of ants crawling across an art gallery wall, with the ants grouping together and coalescing into the form of a single gigantic ant.
The work depicts the concept of the superorganism, in which multiple individual organisms of the same species (in this case ants) interact by a process of synergy to give rise to a collective body that can operate in ways that the individuals can’t. The individual organisms within the superorganism usually display a degree of division of labour, where the individual organisms can’t survive for long on their own. Human civilisation can be seen as a form of superorganism.