A DIGITAL AQUATIC ORGANISM

Lily is a light installation that floats on the water surface. It’s inspired by complex patterns that exist in nature, such as schools of fish or flocks of birds. By using sensors Lily is able to interact with its environment. The motion of the water, the temperature and the size of the flock all influence their observable behaviour. The Lilys make their own decisions, so they create light patterns that we are not able to predict, taking away the control of the artist. Nature is the host of the Lily and is the only one influencing them, allowing their behaviour to form in a dialogue between nature and technology. Every individual Lily makes choices. The choices of the individual are amplified by the flock. Looking at the organism as a whole, complex behavioural light patterns start to emerge.

Lily is a light installation that floats on the water surface. It’s inspired by complex patterns that exist in nature, such as schools of fish or flocks of birds. By using sensors Lily is able to interact with its environment. The motion of the water, the temperature and the size of the flock all influence their observable behaviour. The Lilys make their own decisions, so they create light patterns that we are not able to predict, taking away the control of the artist. Nature is the host of the Lily and is the only one influencing them, allowing their behaviour to form in a dialogue between nature and technology. Every individual Lily makes choices. The choices of the individual are amplified by the flock. Looking at the organism as a whole, complex behavioural light patterns start to emerge.

Habitat

Lily resides on calm waters, lakes or slow flowing rivers. They are spread out evenly occupying the whole of the water surface.They have a floating semi-translucent shell that amplifies and defuses its light output. When the sun sets they wake and start illuminating. The dark reflective water serves as a mirror to intensify the light coming from its glowing shell. These lights are the visual output of there decentralized decision-making process. The Lilys are constantly measuring the movement of the water, this movement influences there communication. This gives the Lilys the possibility to not only use each other in creating a visual output but also be influenced by the water movement when ripples occur. Making the Lily an integral part of the water surface.

Sensors

Each Lily has multiple sensors that they use to feel their environment and other Lilys. They communicate among each other using radio waves. Sending short messages and repeating them to their fellow species. When they receive a message they blink their light. Lily also takes temperature and motion measurements. These are used in their decision making process. The motion sensor is used to detect the state of the water, adapting the algorithm accordingly. The code running on each Lily is the same, but their measurements and interaction with the flock changes variables in its code. Allowing each Lily their own unpredicatble behaviour.

Rules in nature

Nature has beauty in its unpredictability, no tree is the same but they all look like trees. If you find the classifier of a tree you could replicate them without them being identical. WERC does something similar with the Lily. Instead of designing the visual outcome, WERC designs the rules for a single Lily and duplicates that a multitude of times. Every Lily the same, following the same rules, allowing them to branch of to their own path and create their own unique “tree”.

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ABOUT WERC

The artist collective WERC consists of different teams working on various disciplines. Characteristic for the collective is their experiments with new media and techniques; they are always looking for new configurations and challenges. Their shared fascination is the connection that bridges the digital and the physical world. This connection is visible in almost all their work. The artist collective WERC consists of Joachim Rümke, Olav Huizer, Joachim de Vries, and Jelle Valk. It is located in Groningen. Have a look at their website for examples of various projects.