Paper Starlings (2010)

Since its opening in 1959, the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has served as an inspiration for invention, challenging artists and architects to react to its eccentric, organic design. The central void of the rotunda has elicited many unique responses over the years, which have been manifested in both site-specific solo shows and memorable exhibition designs. For the building’s 50th anniversary, the Guggenheim Museum invited several artists, architects and designers to imagine and present their dream interventions in the space for the exhibition ‘Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum’. Together with Dutch entertainment company USE, MIT, and aerodynamics engineer David Lentink, we worked on the realization of the concept. We wanted to create the largest non-living swarm of individually flying objects in the world, transforming the rotunda into a huge vivarium with swarming paper planes. Our aim was to have 100 archetypical paper planes fly in a loop in the museum’s central rotunda. They would sense when their batteries were empty, recharge at an induction platform at the bottom of the space and rejoin the swarm when charged. At that time, the project was unfortunately too expensive to realize, but given the current technological onslaught in the field of autonomous flying drones, it is starting to come within reach.