Video artist Denis Hlysnky's spellbinding videos may feature flocks of birds, but they are more about patterns than they are winged creatures. His most recent one shows the movements of a flock of starlings flying around a set of hydro poles, tracing them across the screen over time, almost like avian skywriters.
Hlynsky, an artist and professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, doesn't use traditional time-lapse techniques to capture his images. Instead, he fixes his camera on a stationary point — in this case, the hydro poles — for extended periods of time, capturing images of birds flying in seemingly random patterns across his lens. Then he manually blurs the images together frame-by-frame.
The end result is a video that shows the birds' flight patterns by casting their trails across the screen.
Hlynksy's video is part of a series called "small brains on mass," in which he tracks movements of other species of birds and bugs. He describes his intention in a statement on the project's website:
I feel the study of these movements in our urban nature habitats can serve as a powerful model for visualizing complex systems. To some degree these videos are studies of mob behaviour. Are these decisions instinctual or small thoughtful considerations? Does one leader guide the group or is there a common brain? ... Are creatures naturally prone to randomness rather than the organization to which humans aspire?