Gal Nissim and Leslie Ruckman

SurveillAnts is an interactive, biological installation that explores the unseen world of ants. Tracing the movements of living harvester ants, the artists reveal emergent patterns and interactions, inviting the audience to contemplate the relationship between individual and collective, and between emergent systems at different scales—from the micro to the macro.

The effect is a real-time, augmented reality ant farm, that allows participants to explore the relationships between individual ants and their collective superorganism. The piece aims to provoke the audience’s curiosity about non-human life, touching on themes of emergent intelligence, biological algorithms, systemic pattern making, and creation.

About the Artists
Gal Nissim is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and researcher who bridges art, science, and technology to create interactive work that invites participants to explore the dynamic relationship between nature, culture, and human-made environments.

Nissim’s work has been exhibited internationally, at Print Screen Festival (Israel); New York Hall of Science; NYC Media Lab at Columbia University; New York University; NYCxDesign festival at Time Square; and Concordia (Netherlands). She is a recipient of grants and fellowships from the Culture & Animals Foundation, NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), HaPais Council for the Culture and Arts, Microsoft Design Expo Challenge, Experimental Storytelling research group by NYU and Google, Tisch GSO, and the Weizmann Institute of Science for outstanding young researchers. Currently, She is a fellow at Made by NY Media Center by IFP.

Nissim received her Master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She studied at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design while earning her Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, in cognitive science and biology in the Special Honors Program from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

For more about Gal, visit her online at or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

Leslie Ruckman is a Brooklyn-based designer and researcher exploring the impacts of an increasingly technologically mediated society.

Her work has been shown at Print Screen Festival (Israel); NYCxDesign Festival; New York University; and Harvard Divinity School. She has conducted workshops and talks at the Design for Social Innovation program at SVA, Relating Systems Thinking and Design Conference, and the Global Service Design Conference, among others.

Ruckman has been awarded grants and scholarships from the Microsoft Design Expo Challenge, and NYU’s Tisch School of Art. She received her Master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She also holds a BFA in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.

For more about Leslie, visit her online at or follow her on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

More information on SurveillAnts may be found at The project’s hashtag is #SurveillAnts, or follow them in Instagram.

SurveillAnts is made possible with the generous support from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Weizmann Institute of Science, Science Gallery and Print Screen Festival.


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