Digital Connections

Digital Connections

By 2020, it is projected that there will be seven million drones in the US alone. Tapping into this growing industry, innovative design collective and FuturePace artists Studio Drift presents Franchise Freedom, a flying sculpture comprising 300 luminous Intel® Shooting Star™ crafts. Taking place above the river IJ, Amsterdam, the presentation is part of the retrospective CODED NATURE (until 26 August) at Stedelijk Museum.Inspired by nature, the piece replicates the flight patterns of birds, investigating the balance between independence and group dynamics. Making use of cutting-edge technology, the performative artwork is based on an autonomous algorithm that blends organic and digital data. Intuitively replicating the responsive movements of the flock, it crafts a display which is harmonious, mesmerising yet strikingly uncanny.

Studio Drift’s Ralph Nauta explains how the work paves the way for more integrated developments, highlighting the importance of nature within design. “By trying to understand and use nature instead of going against it, we can achieve much more in the field of technology. For example, human applications can provide improvements and not pollution.”Franchise Freedomalso offers social commentary, reflecting on a global need to operate as a community. As Studio Drift’s Lonneke Gordijn continues: “The swarm as an autonomous organism expresses freedom, whilst the individual birds have to adhere to strict rules in order not to fly against each other. The resulting image is a wonderful translation of how we live together as people and look for our own place inside or outside society.”

The piece fits into the collective’s wider practice, which synthesises technology and the environment. Offering audiences immersive, visually arresting and powerfully responsive viewing experiences, Studio Drift proves how organic and manmade structures can work in sync. A use of ground-breaking – yet often critiqued – advancements such as drones establishes wider social interactions, proving digital art’s transformative potential.

From 10-12 August. Find out more here.

1.  Studio Drift, FRANCHISE FREEDOM.
2. Studio Drift, FRANCHISE FREEDOM, Photo James Harris.
3. Studio Drift, FRANCHISE FREEDOM, Photo James Harris.