Chances are if you’ve on the internet over the last few years you’ve run into a few amazing bird murmuration videos, like this one from Islands and Rivers or the one we featured on Colossal from Neels Castillion, where countless numbers of starlings flock together and move almost impossibly in concert. Artist Dennis Hlynsky, a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, wondered what would happen if he could better trace the flight paths of individual birds, what kinds of patterns would emerge from these flying social networks?
Hlynsky first started filming birds in 2005 using a small Flip video recorder, but now uses a Lumix GH2 to record gigabytes of bird footage from locations around Rhode Island. He then edits select clips with After Effects and other tools to create brief visual trails that illustrate the path of each moving bird. Non-moving objects like trees and telephone poles remain stationary, and with the added ambient noise of where he was filming, an amazing balance between abstraction and reality emerges. The birds you see aren’t digitally animated or layered in any way, but are shown just as they’ve flown, creating a sort of temporary time-lapse. Above are three of my favorite videos, but he has many more including the movement of insects, ducks, and other animals.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.