Zootechnologies: Swarming as a Cultural Technique

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


This contribution examines the media history of swarm research and the significance of swarming techniques to current socio-technological processes. It explores how the procedures of swarm intelligence should be understood in relation to the concept of cultural techniques. This brings the concept into proximity with recent debates in posthuman (media) theory, animal studies and software studies. Swarms are conceptualized as zootechnologies that resist methods of analytical investigation. Synthetic swarms first emerged as operational collective structures by means of the reciprocal computerization of biology and biologization of computer science. In a recursive loop, swarms inspired agent-based modelling, which in turn provided biological researchers with enduring knowledge about dynamic collectives. This conglomerate led to the development of advanced, software-based 'particle systems'. Swarm intelligence has become a fundamental cultural technique related to dynamic processes and an effective metaphor for the collaborative efforts of society.
ZeitschriftTheory, Culture & Society
Seiten (von - bis)110-131
Anzahl der Seiten22
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.11.2013