People walking along Euston Road will encounter an unusually arresting reflection of themselves in a new light installation, Reflex, created by rAndom International. The work inhabits the windows of the Wellcome Trust as though it were a living organism. Reacting to viewers, passers-by and traffic on the Euston Road, Reflex produces mesmerising flows of light, inviting a physical response to the building.
The installation's swarming behaviour is based on an algorithm developed to emulate the collective decision making that we see in large groups of creatures such as birds or ants.
The work is constructed from hundreds of brass rods and thousands of LEDs arranged on small custom chips. Their movement is based on programmes that aim to simulate complex natural phenomenon. Reflex recreates "stigmergy" whereby traces left by random actions stimulate further actions that build on one another, leading to the spontaneous emergence of apparently patterned activity.
James Peto, Senior Curator at Wellcome Collection, the Wellcome Trusts' public venue says: "An estimated 5,000 people walk past the Wellcome Trust's windows every day. rAndom International's Reflex is the seventh in a series of annual design commissions for this prominent site. The window designs have always provoked interesting reactions from passers-by. With Reflex the passers-by can provoke a reaction from the windows."
Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities; its breadth of support including public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. The Trust is independent of both political and commercial interests.
rAndom International was founded by Stuart Wood, Flo Ortkrass and Hannes Koch in 2002. The studio was set up to extend the perspective of contemporary artistic practice. Working from the fringes of art, design, science and architecture, rAndom develop projects and installations that re-interpret the 'cold' nature of digital-based work and emphasise the interaction between the animate (audience) and the inanimate (object), bringing the two into a powerful relationship of performance. The studio's work has won many awards in the fields art, architecture and design. rAndom are represented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London.
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