Zoological by Random International. Image courtesy of Random International

Random International release a drone swarm

The makers of the worldwide hit Rain Room return with another interactive artwork in London

In 2012 the London-based art collective Random International opened their Rain Room at the Barbican. The installation, which used clever sensor technology to allow visitors to walk through a simulated rain storm without getting wet, was an instant hit, both in the British capital and on tour in New York, LA and Shanghai.



This week the group unveils its latest installation, which could prove to be another immersive crowd-pleaser. The group are working with the Royal Ballet choroegrapher Wayne McGregor on a new production at London’s Round House, entitled +/- HUMAN. This immserve show hopes to explore the ways in which humans and machines can move and interact together.

While McGregor is choreographing the dancers, Random International are providing the machines, in the form of Zoological, a swarm of drone-propelled white helium balloons, which move about the huge performance space according to a series of bepsoke algorithms.



“The spheres react to their surroundings and, sometimes, to people within their environment,” says Random International. “In some ways, the piece is an amplified and physical manifestation of our lived experience in a world increasingly run by algorithms.”

Zoological, which forms part of McGregor’s production and serves as a stand-alone ticketed exhibition outside of show times, isn’t some simple, dystopian, the-robots-are going-to-get-us work. Instead, Random International invites visitors to explore both the good and bad sides of lifelike technology in our everday lives.



“As a species, we are having to adapt rapidly to a continually developing cohabitation with autonomous machines,” say the artists. “Zoological was informed by a desire to explore some of the implications of this through physicality, instinct, and emotion.”

It may or may not prove as attractive as an interactive rain storm, but Zoological could well be a more prescient prelude of things to come.

For more on the role of electronics in contemporary art order a copy of Art and Electronic Media here.