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Studio Drift pays tribute to the 50-year milestone of the Apollo 11 mission

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of NASA’s mission that landed man on moon, Studio Drift creates a swirl of drones backed by live performance by Duran Duran.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Jul 18, 2019

The memory of man making his way to the moon is still fondly remembered today; an event that changed the course of science and its vision for the future. July 16, 2019, marked the day that Apollo 11 left NASA's launchpad, carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. NASA celebrated this glorious event by putting together a larger-than-life ceremony at the Rocket Garden of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a fascinating full moon night. As darkness fell, the sky was lit with an array of enigmatic art installations and music to recall the distinct flight. 

Tonight (July 16, 2019) we flew our artwork in front of the full moon. It felt like we were bringing some space travel history back to earth. –Ralph Nauta, Co-founder, Studio Drift

Netherlands-based Studio Drift rendered the sky magical with a swarm of drones from their famed installation Franchise Freedom, a performance artwork which first debuted at Art Basel 2017 in Miami, and later at the Burning Man and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Above the iconic rockets of the center, people saw clusters of luminous drones flying in abstract patterns to mark the momentous occasion.

Franchise Freedom| Studio Drift | STIR
Franchise Freedom by Studio Drift at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Image Credit: Ossip van Duivenbode

“The moon landing made us think about our lives here on earth more than life on the moon. That’s what our work Franchise Freedom is about, human behaviour on earth,” said artist Lonneke Gordijn, Co-founder, Studio Drift.

The aerial sculpture has been inspired from the natural flight of starlings, which after years of research was developed and embedded into drones through parametric algorithms. The installation depicts a poetic illustration of how we, as humans, strive to live autonomously within societies defined by rules and conventions.

Franchise Freedom| Studio Drift | STIR
Franchise Freedom by Studio Drift at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Image Credit: Ossip van Duivenbode

A live performance by Duran Duran enlivened the evening with frontman Simon Le Bon singing The Universe Alone, from their 2015 album, Paper Gods, accompanied by a grand orchestra and choir.

Revealing rhapsodies of this unique association, Nick Rhodes, keyboardist from the 80s leading band, said, “I first encountered Studio Drift’s drone pieces at Art Basel Miami in 2017. I was completely enchanted by what they had created. I’d never seen technology like this be used in such an emotional way. When we were asked to play at the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission at the Kennedy Space Center, we all knew that this needed to be something extraordinary. So, Duran Duran and Studio Drift seemed like the perfect collaboration. Once we began to talk about working together everything fell into place seamlessly. We created an eight-minute orchestral rearrangement of the Duran Duran song The Universe Alone specifically for Studio Drift’s latest drone art performance. I’m thrilled to say we have lift off.”

The ceremony was attended by the original Apollo 11 astronauts themselves, and continues days later with special events and exhibitions being held across the world remembering America’s iconic moon landing.

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