Ants at Automation House #6

Conversations with artist Alan Sonfist and scientist/collaborator Howard Topoff and other attendees of Sonfist's installation "Army Ants: Structures & Patterns."

00:01Copy video clip URL The camera crew for WABC-7 sets up a 16mm camera to capture environmental artist Alan Sonfist’s exhibition at Automation House in New York City, “Army Ants: Patterns & Structures.” “How do you take a reading on an ant?” reporter Kevin Sanders asks as the cinematographer prepares the shot.

02:30Copy video clip URL Sanders approaches Sonfist. Sonfist discusses the installation, in which a huge colony of ants will gradually create a system of geometric patterns over time in search of the food source, which he relocates every day to create new patterns. 

5:40Copy video clip URL Sanders speaks to a scientist Howard Topoff – of the American Museum of Natural History and Hunter College – about the complexity of the behavior and the biology of the ants. 

9:10Copy video clip URL The video camera operator speaks to an Argentinean woman attending the show about ants in Argentina and in New York. “I imagine for the New Yorker it must be a big excitement, you know, because they are not accustomed to seeing them.” 

10:35Copy video clip URL The camera operator speaks to another attendee, a young woman with big glasses who is a friend of Sonfist, who is enthusiastic about the exhibition. 

11:51Copy video clip URL Sanders expresses his enthusiasm about the segment, which he said will be broadcast that night on “Eyewitness News.” 

12:51Copy video clip URL The camera operator speaks to Topoff about the installation as both science and art. He is delighted that people are expressing such interest in ants, which he refers to as his “life’s work.” He says that the ants will be used as research subjects after the exhibition is over.

17:08Copy video clip URL Another attendee, a bearded man (who is apparently an artist), responds to the camera operator’s questions by countering “What do the ants think of us?” He continues discussing the exhibition with the videomakers but much of the conversation s inaudible. 

21:47Copy video clip URL The videomakers speak with other attendees about the exhibition. Much of the conversation is inaudible. 

26:01Copy video clip URL The videomakers discuss the installation with an employee of Automation House who is cleaning up, He describes how he responded when the ants escaped their arena.

27:40Copy video clip URL Crowd footage.

27:59Copy video clip URL The camera operator speaks with a young woman who did not come into the gallery because she doesn’t like ants. A man agrees with her, asserting that the show is a waste of money even though he finds it interesting. He speaks with other bystanders but much of the conversation is inaudible. 

 

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