School of Lights

School of Lights is an interactive light installation inspired on schooling behavior of fish. The lights relate to each other and the surrounding as if they are a school of fish.

The project is a collaboration between dr. Jolle Jolles from the Max Planck institute of Ornithology and creative studio Toer. Jolles is a collective behavior researcher. He proved that different fish within a school have there individual characters. There are bolt fish, explorers, followers. These behavior differences where discovered by analysing the moving patterns of fish.

In collaboration with Toer the research has done one step further by basing the movements of the lights on the moving patterns of fish and by analyzing the movement of the audience. The audience can interact with the fishlike lights. The school of lights will move quietly when there is no one around. When some-one enters the area, the Light will react like fish reacts to a predator. They will move away from the person in the same way a school of fish would.

The lights are suspended in the air, pointed at the ground and the walls. In the middle, a camera tracks the movements of the public below. Their behavior feeds the programmed behavior of the lights. The lamps are steered by the computer model and move autonomously as a real school of fish.