Random International
Swarm Light / 2010
leds, polished brass rods, custom circuit boards, custom driver software and hardware, sound / motion sensors
CM H: 150 W: 85 L: 235
IN H: 59.1 W: 33.5 L: 92.5

3 CUBES OF H81 L81 P81 CM / H31.9 W31.9 D31.9 IN


Swarm Light invites us on a visual experience inspired by the study of a natural and fascinating phenomenon; the migratory patterns of thousands of birds. In order to express this movement Random Internationalused the first ever digital algorithm developed by Boyd in 1986 that simulates the way insects swarm. Using this technology, Random International came up with a high, sculptural piece, a light installation that draws the flight trajectory inspired by nature through flashes of light. Using an interactive strategy, man can interfere with the shifts of the group’s movement by making sounds. The onlooker then realises his or her power and participates in the alteration of the real in his or her own way.


Random International’s Swarm Light works translate patterns of collective behaviour found in nature into moving light.


The first exploration of this kind, Swarm Light emulates the behaviour of a group of birds. The sound created by visitors’ presence stimulates the installation’s ‘collective consciousness’, causing the abundant individual lights to respond in swarm-like formations.


The viewer is invited into a responsive relationship with the work itself and its surrounding sphere, as the installation reacts to the sound of its onlookers and the illuminated swarm animates the space.

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About the artist
Random International

Florian Ortkrass and Hannes Koch were both born in 1975 in Germany. The two met at Brunel University, graduating in 2002, before going on to study at the Royal College of Art. They founded Random International in 2005. Based in London with an outpost in Berlin, the studio today employs a large and diverse team of creatives.

Random International is a collaborative studio for experimental practice within contemporary art. Using science to develop a new material vocabulary, its work invites viewers to consider the man/machine relationship through explorations of behaviour and natural phenomena. In more than a decade since the studio’s inception, the focus of Random International’s artistic practice has continuously evolved, and today it embraces sculpture, performance, and installation, often on an architectural scale. Their highly collectable work creates a bridge between objects and products by merging monumental design, graphic artwork and technology.

Their Swarm Study series recreates the migratory patterns of birds using light. Using a digital algorithm that simulates the way insects swarm, the light installations chart birds’ flight trajectories through flashes of light. The viewer is invited into a responsive relationship with the work as the movement of the swarm illuminates the exhibition space.

Their critically acclaimed installation Rain Room is in the collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has also been shown at London’s Barbican (2012); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); and Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2015/2018). An edition of Rain Room has become the first permanently installed artwork at the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2018).

Their work is also found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum London, the Sharjah Art Foundation Sharjah, UAE, the Maxine & Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art Detroit, the YUZ Foundation Shanghai, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art LA.

/ Swarm Study III, Victoria & Albert Museum commission in collaboration withCarpentersWorkshop Gallery, London.

/ Designers of the Future, Design Miami/Basel, Switzerland.

/ Prix Ars Electronica -- Honourable Mention in Interactive Art category.

/ Observer Future -- 500 List Top Ten Creative Talent in the UK.

/ Wallpaper* -- Design Award.
/ iF Design Award -- Concepts category (Germany).
/ CR -- Creative Futures Award, Interaction Design category.

/ 18th Koizumi International Lighting Design Competition -- Bronze Design Award (Japan).
/ Matthews Wrightson Trust Award.
/ iF Design Award -- Concepts category (Germany).

/ Rosenthal European Competition -- Runners up.
/ Identity for Egyptian Museum (Doha, Qatar).

/ Gareth Williams, “Telling Tales: Fantasy and Fear in contemporary Design”,
London: V&A Publishing, 2009.

/ “Design and the Elastic Mind”, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2008. September, 2009.

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Los Angeles CountyMuseum of Art (LACMA). Tate Modern, London. Museo di Arte Contemporaneo Luigi Pecci, Prato. TheBarbican Centre, London. The International Design Museum, Jerusalem. The International Design Museum,Munich. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The Seoul Design Museum, Seoul.
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