Date: December 10th, 2013

Concept / Development: David Somiah Clark
Sin Yan Kung – Programming

Platform: Processing 2.0.3
Version: Rev1

Cliques is an interactive sketch inspired by generative music apps such as Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers Scape, as well as Craig Reynold’s Boids program. The concept involves an interactive sketch functioning as a framework within which to stress the behaviour of a flock of boids. The idea is to allow the placement of interaction nodes on the canvas that influence a flock in competing ways. Thus far, the results are compelling and merit further development. Noticeable behaviours include the flock breaking into separate groups that exhibit independent behaviours and flight patterns. During the development process, interesting accidents occurred resulting in bizarre patterns in the flock. An example of such a behaviour can be seen in the the time lapse video of the sketch Manic. Future revisions of Cliques will allow for greater user configurability and experimentation with new and different types of interaction nodes.

The interaction is intended to be aesthetically minimal but visually stimulating. In the sketch, the narrative is that of an inter-stellar system. The boids are an autonomous life-form navigating space, and three selectable interaction nodes influence the boids each in their own distinct way. The nodes can be selected and placed anywhere on the canvas, and each sketch creates a different pattern in the flock.

The three nodes function as follows:

Node Type 1: Black Holes
The black hole nodes absorb boids until they reach a critical mass at which point they release the boids.

Node Type 2: Stars
The star nodes attract and trap the boids within their gravity well.

Node Type 3: Hostiles
The hostile nodes repel the boids.


– Scape by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers:

Computational / Conceptual
– Flocking by Daniel Shiffman:
(An implementation of Craig Reynold’s Boids program to simulate the flocking behavior of birds. Each boid steers itself based on rules of avoidance, alignment, and coherence.)

– Black Hole animation based on Ellipses by Krystof Pesek:
– Hostile animation based on sketch by Ira Greenberg:
– Star Animation based on sketch by Pierce W: