Swarm is a codework that has been produced by simulating a population of automated factory robots, whose Taylorist rhythms are coordinated by a central director unit, and then printing out the resulting console log. The wall of text yielded suggests a grey crucible of unrelenting activity, but there are also distinct patterns of behaviour that can be discerned when following the paths of individual machines. Most perform varied tasks, or are sent to different locations as needed, while requiring occasional maintenance and recharging. Some are lost to accidents, and need recycling, or become infected with a virus, and demand swift disposal before they corrupt the remaining population. In Swarm the facility director logic is unable to respond quickly enough to a growing blight (which stemmed from only a single individual) and the console log terminates as it becomes saturated with errors.

Swarm was inspired by another codework, Bad Machine (1998) by Dan Shiovitz.

Copies of this text are currently available for print-on-demand order. Please send an email to richard.carter@roehampton.ac.uk, and an order will be arranged for you.

Example plates from Swarm