There’s a transfixing, mysterious quality to a swarm of birds beating a path across the sky. How do they remain so close without colliding? How do they alter their patterns in response to potential danger? Those questions form the backbone of “Flylight,” an interactive light display by Studio Drift that simulates a flock’s response to intruders.
The installation consists of 180 suspended halogen bulbs equipped with ultrasonic sensors that, when triggered by a viewer’s movements, send an illuminating ripple through the pack. “For us,” the Dutch designers write, “the interesting part is the free will of the flock: Does the group attack the viewers one by one, or will it split up and flee?” They are currently customizing “Flylights” for private houses and public spaces around the world.