Afrah Shafiq, installation view of Where do the Ants Go?, 2022–23, at Dhaka Art Summit, 2023. Photo by Farhad Rahman. Courtesy of Dhaka Art Summit 2023.
Afrah Shafiq, Where do the Ants Go?, 2022–23, still. Courtesy of the artist.
WHERE DO THE ANTS GO? is an interactive sculpture that mimics an ant hill, with the actions and outcomes of the colony determined by those interacting with it. Designed as a multi-lingual, participatory experience, it responds to both pre-programmed algorithms and real-time inputs. Inspired by the visions of web 3.0 and speculative futures of the internet, this sculpture brings together elements of the natural world, human consciousness, and technology to provide a space for reflection, observation of patterns, and potential resetting. Think of it as a cross between SimAnt and Minecraft. Here, the theme of play is mediated through a video game format, where visitors become the puppetmasters of a colony of digital ants living within the expansive screens that enshroud the interior of the sculptural installation. WHERE DO THE ANTS GO? purports to explore the relationship between the individual ant and its colony, and by extension, the relationship between humanity and the world at large.
Read more about the project here
Afrah Shafiq is a talented multi/new media artist based in Goa, India. With a focus on research as a form of artistic expression, she blends archival materials, history, memory, folklore, and fantasy to create unique, speculative worlds. Her work transcends various mediums, combining the traditional techniques of folk art with the digital language of the internet and video games. Afrah has shown her work at prestigious venues including the Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan (2021), Currents New Media Festival in Santa Fe (2021), Lahore Biennial (2020), Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018), Anant Art Gallery (2020), The Guild Art Gallery (2018) in India, Florida Digital Graffiti Festival (2018), The Fusebox Festival in Texas, and the Computer Space Festival in Bulgaria. She has also been a research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Nantes, France, and has participated in artist residencies at Fluent Collaborative in Austin and the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art."
LINK: Afrah Shafiq