During the annual renowned art fair Art Basel, a swarm of drones will take to the sky over Miami Beach in Florida in a first-of-its-kind work of art. Called Franchise Freedom, it’s a flying sculpture that uses 300 illuminated drones to imitate a flock of starling birds. According to Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, the Dutch artists behind the sculpture, the “drones fly with autonomous behavior, like a swarm of starlings will do.”
The artists lead Studio Drift, based in Amsterdam, and have partnered with BMW to bring Franchise Freedom to Art Basel. What makes this work of art truly unique and the first of its kind is the algorithm behind the drones’ flight path. The drones will use decentralized algorithms that allow the drones to follow individualized flight paths that react to others within the swarm, as real starlings do. “It is the first time that a natural phenomenon will be imitated by machines working with decentralized algorithms at this scale.” This also means that no two showings of the sculpture will be the same, again just like a natural swarm.