Aeroplankton

Floating all around us they feed off sound waves

Aeroplankton are tiny lifeforms that float and drift in the air, carried by the current of the wind; they are the atmospheric equivalent to oceanic plankton. We created them as part of a Radio Arts showcase which commissioned several sound pieces. We were asked to create some sort of audio visualisation to accompany the show and decided to create a new imaginary species of protozoa which feeds off radio waves which we christened Aeroplankton. They have intricate fractal shaped mineral skeletons which act as receivers of extremely shortwave radio. We imagined them drifting in the atmosphere seeking electromagnetic signals to feed off and interfere with. The shapes of our aeroplankton were inspired by a a mathematical equation named the superformula which displays a range of natural forms using fairly simple trigonometry. We wrote an algorithm to warp this formula into the responsive bodies of the aeroplankton.

Hooked to a microphone, the aeroplankton constantly change, mutate and evolve in response to the audio in the room. As long as they hear the frequency they need they will grow and even reproduce by splitting in half - each half a smaller copy of the parent. The aeroplankton are also mutated by stray frequencies as they age resulting in an evolving roomful of audio morphology.

Aeroplankton feed on sound
Their shape depends on the frequencies heard

Genetic Moo 2017