Art Collective Sets Sights on Drone-Operated ‘Ocean of Light’

February 27, 2013 | Eugene Reznik

Submergence, a transfixing immersive installation of wired-up LEDs is the latest iteration of Ocean of Light, an ongoing project expanding digital visual media into the third dimension by the decade-old art and research collective Squidsoap. The work, sometimes referred to as a low-res “volumetric visualization” was on view in Norway earlier this month and reminds of Yayoi Kusama’s 2002 mirrored infinity room Fireflies on the Water exhibited at the Whitney last year. It has one clear limitation.

“The obvious ultimate vision of the Ocean of Light project,” says Squidsoup’s Anthony Rowe in an in-depth interview with Creative Applications, “is to get rid of the physical side altogether. No strings and wires, no chips, just freely floating points of light. Using drones is a step in that direction…”

There was a similar attempt at synchronized dynamic points of light last year by MIT SENSEable City Lab called Flyfire. The concept video is really worth a watch, though according to Rowe, “that project has tanked.”

One hurdle to overcome would be making such an installation immersive and interactive and safe at the same time, else visitors have to bear the wrath of thousands of propellor wings. If anyone has the ability to start developing a fully-freeform display of synchronized drone-mounted LEDs, they could use sure the help. We’d all be grateful.

(Photo Squidsoap.org/Flickr)