At first glance, the Urban Ant City looks like a large map of Rotterdam that’s fashioned from sand encased in a display frame. Look closely, though, and you’ll see it’s actually a landscape that’s ever-changing, since the place is populated by hundreds of Spanish ants that dig and burrow their way through the maze.
Made by Studio 1:1, it’s an ant farm that starts out life depicting the city of Rotterdam, housed inside a glass case that you can view from both sides. As the tiny insects do on any ant farm, they’re never content simply getting around the city using existing pathways, choosing to reshape its layout with new routes that morph the city into something entirely new.
We’re not sure how long it will take before Rotterdam becomes unrecognizable in Urban Ant City, although we guess that will depend on how many of the critters are actually dwelling inside the two-dimensional structure. Regardless, it should be an interesting installation to observe, if only to postulate how a city will evolve if giant ants superseded humans as the dominant species on the planet some time down the line. Well, that or tiny ants being controlled by a nefarious supervillain using Ant-Man technology. Or something like that.
Urban Ant City is currently showcased at the Office for Metropolitan Information in the city of Rotterdam.