series of algorithmic animations
[2013-2018]

The PURE MOVEMENTS project is an investigation of subtle movements at the margins of everyday life.

I formalised my perception into behavioural rules and translated them into computational code.

I created three distinct algorithms capturing:
1 – a walking spider
2 – shifting rays of sunshine
3 – swarms

visualised each algorithms in various digital and physical environments using the aesthetic language I developed in my photographic work.

Works from the PURE MOVEMENTS project have been widely exhibited and received several awards.

PURE MOVEMENT 1

I am fascinated by the complex yet elegantly fluid movement of spiders. I perceive beauty in the movement itself, separate from the creature which produces it.

The spider’s basic gait pattern is an alternation of 2 tetrapods with 4 legs moving while 4 are on the ground. The steps are altered in length and frequency according to variations in the terrain. Furthermore, the gait of some spider species becomes irregular as they move faster.

PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 1

environment 1 is an image from the EVERYDAY project

PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 1
digital video loop generated by custom algorithm | 1:23 min | HD resolution | photographic image taken from the EVERYDAY project | 2015

Installation view

Visual Reference Grid 1.1 for PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 1: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 1.2

environment 1.2 is an image from the EVERYDAY project

Pure Movement 1, environment 1.2
9 unique digital video loops (+1AP), each generated by an iteration of a custom algorithm and resulting in a subtly different movement | lengths vary between 0:58 and 1:04 min [here: 30 sec excerpt] | HD resolution | 2016 
The work was distributed through digital art platform s[edition]

Variations in movement as a result of different iterations of the same algorithm

Visual Reference Grid 1.1.2 
for PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 1.2: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 2

environment 2 is an art gallery

‘five screens are situated at various heights and distances from each other on two adjacent walls, with one lying face-up on the floor along an irregular line demarcating two disparate patterns of tiling. From a distance, the screens appear imageless, emitting only a soft white glow. In close proximity, the textures and imperfections of the space’s distinctive surfaces become evident – as though the screens were empty frames. Across these five screens runs a looped video of Nolden’s algorithm, in which the long, spindly legs of an animated spider communicate the patterns and irregularities of its motion. As it moves across the screen, momentarily disappears and reemerges on the next—interacting with and moving through the actual space—the delicate lines of its body, and the shadow it casts, continuously reconfigure a drawing in process.’ from an article by art critic Julianne Cordray for BerlinArtLink.com 16/5/2017

Pure Movement 1, environment 2
installation [5 video loops | HD resolution | 8 min each | generated by custom software | 5 monitors with media players | installation size 2 x 1.5 x 2.5 m | 2017

site-specific work for Centrum [contemporary art space] Berlin 

Installation view

Visual Reference Grid 1.2 
for PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 2: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 3

environment 3 is the wall of an art gallery

A photograph of the wall behind the screen is displayed on the screen and forms the surface on which the spider’s movement is visualised. 

Digital and physical space merge within the screen’s frame.

Pure Movement 1, environment 3
3:24 min HD video loop generated by custom algorithm | digital display [width 72 cm, height 42 cm, depth 7 cm] | 2018
site-specific installation at Gazelli Art House, London [Window Project exhibition, August 2018]

Installation views

Visual Reference Grid 1.3 
for PURE MOVEMENT 1, environment 3: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 2

I am fascinated by the subtle and fleeting movement of light shapes made by rays of sunshine coming through windows. 

The movement is created by gaps in between clouds which are moved by relatively strong winds. I used a fractal noise algorithm which combines randomness with neighbourly similarity to simulate the shape and distribution of clouds.

PURE MOVEMENT 2, environment 1

environment 1 is an image from the EVERYDAY project

PURE MOVEMENT 2, environment 1
digital video loop generated by custom algorithm | 4:04 min [above: 30sec excerpt] | HD resolution | 2015

Installation views

Visual Reference Grid 2.1 for PURE MOVEMENT 2, environment 1: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 2, environment 2

environment 2 consists of three semi-obscured windows of an art
 gallery

Using the algorithm I generate a 20-minute loop of the movement which is projected simultaneously by three projectors. Physically the movement only exists in the thickness of the window pane. It is visible on both sides of the window.

PURE MOVEMENT 2, environment 2
installation (digital video generated by custom algorithm, computer, splitter, 3 video projectors) width 400 cm, height 100 cm | 20 min loop | HD resolution | 2015

Installation views

Visual Reference Grid 2.2 for PURE MOVEMENT 2, environment 2: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 3

I am fascinated by the varied yet balanced movement of insect swarms. I perceive beauty in the movement itself, separate from the creature which produces it.

Every member in a swarm is autonomous, there is no leader. The movement is created because each entity follows a set of behavioural rules: align with the movements of your neighbours, move toward the average of your neighbours’ positions, keep at a distance from your neighbours, move towards a specified point in space, wander aimlessly.

For the execution of those rules only a limited radius around the entity is evaluated. Although based on very simple behavioural rules, the resulting group movement becomes very complex. My computational representation of swarm behaviour draws on the work of Craig W. Reynolds and Daniel Shiffman.

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 1

environment 1 is an image from the EVERYDAY project

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 1
digital video loop generated by custom algorithm | 1:07 min | HD resolution | photographic image taken from the EVERYDAY project | 2015

Installation view

Visual Reference Grid 3.1 for PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 1: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 1.2

environment 1.2 is an image from the EVERYDAY project

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 1.2
digital video loop generated by custom algorithm [above: 30 sec excerpt] | HD resolution | 2016

The work has been awarded the Future Fest Art Prize 2016. It is available on digital art platform s[edition].

Visual Reference Grid 3.1.2 for PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 1.2: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 2

environment 2 is a semi-obscured window of an art gallery

The movement is projected a semi-obscured window so it becomes visible from inside and outside the building. Only the view from inside reveals that the movement is created with a combination of a Raspberry Pi computer and a video projector. The movement of each virtual entity is calculated and displayed continuously in real time. It only repeats theoretically and in infinity.

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 2

installation (custom software, Raspberry Pi computer, video projector) site specific work, created for Gazelli Art House, London | width approx. 80 cm | height approx. 30 cm | 2015

The work was created as a site specific installation for Gazelli Art House, London.

Installation views seen from inside the gallery and from the street

Visual Reference Grid 3.2 for PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 2; images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 3

environment 3 is a set of three custom built structures

Each structure consists of a Raspberry Pi computer and a 5-inch LCD screen. All 3 structures independently run the same algorithm but result in 3 different visual results.
The movement of each virtual entity is calculated and displayed continuously in real time.

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 3 
installation (custom software, three structures each consisting of one Raspberry Pi computer and one 5″ LCD screen) | width 48 cm, height 12 cm, depth 3 cm | 2016

The work was exhibited at the ‘Pure Movements’ exhibition at Centrum [contemporary art space] Berlin in May 2017 and Gazelli Art House London in 2018.

Visual Reference Grid 3.3 for PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 3: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 4

environment 4 is the window pane of Centrum [contemporary art space] Berlin

‘The movement is generated by a custom algorithm running on  Raspberry Pi computer. The movement of each virtual entity is calculated and projected continuously in real time.
‘The subtlety that Nolden observes and represents in her work is mirrored by its positioning in the space. Above the large storefront window, a narrow upper window—its translucent surface penetrated by light from both sides—becomes a screen for projection, in which a network of changing motions runs in real-time, in unpredictable, infinite variations. The flock of bird silhouettes that carry out these movements alternately filter through the window, seemingly from beyond it, and are an articulation of its surface: with the window as both a frame for existing images and a material for generating new ones.’ from an article by Julianne Cordray for BerlinArtLink.com 16/5/2017

PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 4
installation (custom software, Raspberry Pi computer, video projector) | projection on semi-transparent window pane 30 x 150 cm | 2017

The work was exhibited at the ‘Pure Movements’ exhibition at Centrum [contemporary art space] Berlin in May 2017.

Installation view

Visual Reference Grid 3.4 for PURE MOVEMENT 3, environment 4: images taken from the EVERYDAY photographic project