FRANCHISE FREEDOM – a flying sculpture by Studio Drift in partnership with BMW

BMW Group Cultural Engagement

December 8, 2017

Through December 10, 2017, 8pm

FRANCHISE FREEDOM: Studio Drift and BMW illuminate the night sky with a performance of 300 drones flying above the ocean in Miami Beach.

On the occasion of Art Basel in Miami Beach, Amsterdam based Studio Drift, Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, presented their latest work FRANCHISE FREEDOM – a flying sculpture by Studio Drift in partnership with BMW. 300 illuminated drones moved across the sky above the ocean mimicking a flock of birds and creating a performative artwork at the interface between technology, science, and art. 

“Everything can be simulated in animation and virtual reality, but we think there is an importance in creating real experiences that you can feel and see with your own eyes in the real world, not only through a screen”, says Lonneke Gordijn, co-founder of Studio Drift, Amsterdam.

Hildegard Wortmann, Senior Vice President Brand BMW says: “It was Edmund Burke—in the middle of the 18th century within his well-known treatise on the sublime—who wrote of beauty as being a movement. This is what Studio Drift and Bayerische Motoren Werke both wholeheartedly subscribe to. FRANCHISE FREEDOM is a technological wonder and a breathtaking aesthetic experience.”

By imitating the natural phenomenon of a swarm of birds, it is the first time for this orchestrated movement to be presented by machines working with decentralized algorithms at a very large scale. Additional shows weather permitting are planned nightly at 8pm until December 10. The drones perform between 32nd and 33rd Street off Collins Avenue behind the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. They are visible from a large distance—detailed timing will be shared on Instagram by Studio Drift @studio.drift, by Pace Gallery @pacegallery and by BMW on Instagram @bmwgroupculture and Facebook #bmwgroupculture.  

Studio Drift questions the delicate balance between the group and the individual. The sacrifice made by the individual subjecting to the group gives off the illusion of freedom, creating a never-ending cycle. To create FRANCHISE FREEDOM, Studio Drift studied the natural flight patterns of starlings and translated them into software that was specially developed and embedded in the drones. Their technology is based on ongoing university research on flocking behavior, as the principles of self-organization have become more and more relevant in our changing world. 

BMW has a 50-year global track record of recognizing and enabling talent in the arts. The company makes artistic visions come true and honors the full creative freedom of any artist or institution they collaborate with. When Studio Drift sought a dialogue with BMW in regard to their ambitious project, the company, as long-term partner of Art Basel, could not pass on the challenge. For the period of over half a year, discussions ensued between BMW and Studio Drift—just as they did with artists like Jeff Koons, Olafur Eliasson, and Cao Fei before them. 

Further information available at:
Video footage:

Press contact: Dr Thomas Girst, BMW Group Corporate and Governmental Affairs, Head of Cultural Engagement,  T +49 89 382 24753 / presse [​at​]