Your Own Personal Space

Procedural animation from 2009, made in Processing.

At the time I was living with 3 other people in an apartment that in hindsight probably was way too small for us. Although I started working on this animation to get my head around flocking and self organizing algorithms, when I showed it to one of my housemates, she said ‘That’s nice…..Maybe we should look for a bigger place.’ I guess it was one of those cases where your surroundings unintentionally find their way into your work.

At the start of the animation, the location and size of the circles are distributed randomly. The circles will then move around, until they organize themselves into a pattern where everyone has ‘enough personal space’. Depending on the start up values, this process can happen quite quickly, or stretch over many minutes.

There’s two things that I still like seeing after almost two years. One is that two circles can be very close and actually overlap, but still not move. I like to think they are the ones that are in love. The other is that even though things can seemingly settle down, one agitated circle can cause a chain reaction, stirring up the entire frame and causing everyone to have to re-align.

Music. Afghamistam by Botch. Nothing audio responsive is happening, but I found the song quite fitting. And Botch fucking rocks.

Source code and .pde file on

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