In the dance studio: An art and engineering exploration of human flocking

Naomi E. Leonard, George F. Young, Kelsey Hochgraf, Daniel T. Swain, Aaron Trippe, Willa Chen, Katherine Fitch, and Susan Marshall

Chapter 2 in Controls and Art: Inquiries at the Intersection of the Subjective and the Objective, edited by Amy Laviers and Magnus Egerstedt, Springer, New York, 2014.
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Flock Logic was developed as an art and engineering project to explore how the feedback laws used to model flocking translate when applied by dancers. The artistic goal was to create choreographic tools that leverage multi-agent system dynamics with designed feedback and interaction. The engineering goal was to provide insights and design principles for multi-agent systems, such as human crowds, animal groups and robotic networks, by examining what individual dancers do and what emerges at the group level. We describe our methods to create dance and investigate collective motion. We analyze video of an experiment in which dancers moved according to simple rules of cohesion and repulsion with their neighbors. Using the prescribed interaction protocol and tracked trajectories, we estimate the time-varying graph that defines who is responding to whom. We compute status of nodes in the graph and show the emergence of leaders. We discuss results and further directions.

(Chapter as pdf)
For an earlier and shorter version of this paper that appeared in the Proceedings of the 2012 American Control Conference click here
Flock Logic page
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