Drones flock, concrete hovers and lamps bloom as Studio Drift reimagines science and nature
Last December, Studio Drift unleashed Franchise Freedom, a formation of 300 drones fitted with a light source that went flying and flocking, as birds would, into the dark Miami night. Using computer algorithms, the studio added starling flight patterns to the drones’ software to emulate a phenomenon previously only seen, on this scale at least, in the natural world.
The Amsterdam-based studio, founded in 2007 by Netherlands-born artist Lonneke Gordijn and her British/Dutch partner Ralph Nauta, aimed to address the balance between the individual and the group, and how animals trade their individual needs for the safety of numbers. It was also a thrilling spectacle and perhaps a defining moment in ‘tech art’, the creative push and pull of technology into new shapes and forms.
The work of the interdisciplinary studio employs a special position in the tech art movement. Using sculpture, installation and performance, Gordijn and Nauta, who are both graduates of the Design Academy Eindhoven, take on the delicate, often destructive, relationships between human evolution, natural forces and technological advancement.
Gordijn rose to international attention with her first light sculpture, Fragile Future, in 2005. Nauta later joined her in developing the project, which features delicate dandelion seed heads attached to LEDs, powered by bronze electrical circuits. ‘We were still finding out what our interests were,’ Nauta says. ‘I am very much interested in science fiction and Lonneke in natural processes. This project became the basis of Studio Drift.’
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