Therme Art Program

Therme Art, Pace and Studio Drift Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 Lunar Landing

As a part of Therme Art’s joint venture with Pace and art collective Studio Drift, the flying sculpture Franchise Freedom held its inaugural 2019 flight during celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar landing.



Franchise Freedom led the celebrations at the Kennedy Space Centre’s Rocket Garden on 16 July and was accompanied by a live performance by the seminal UK group Duran Duran. This iteration of the flight featured three hundred Intel® Shooting Star™ drones, poetically lighting up the night sky.

Building on more than ten years of research on the flight behaviour of starlings, Franchise Freedom is a performative artwork at the interface between technology, science and art. Mimicking the natural movement and flight patterns of starlings in massive flocks, an autonomous, luminous swarm of drones flies through the sky in patterns generated by a state-of-the art algorithm.

Through its global tour, Franchise Freedom will promote conversations about the role of art and technology, and how they can work in symbiosis to inspire people into a future that embraces a vision of nature in harmony with technology. Franchise Freedom has previously flown at Design Miami/ in 2017, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam as part of Studio Drift’s retrospective Coded Nature and at Burning Man in 2018.

Since establishing the group in 2007, Studio Drift, the art collective led by Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta has been at the very forefront of experimental and interactive art practice, exploring the relationship between nature and technology through collaboration with scientists, universities, research facilities, programmers and engineers. Consistent throughout their work is a desire to look to the natural world, using cutting-edge technology to translate it into profound and meditative experiences. In this regard, they see the lunar landing as a point of continued inspiration. As Studio Drift’s Nauta said, “let’s take this is an example of what amazing possibilities we can have if we put our minds together. It is our responsibility to use technology to build a sustainable future.”


Franchise Freedom performing over NASA's Rocket Garden


Franchise Freedom performing over NASA's Rocket Garden

Franchise Freedom, Studio Drift, Kennedy Space Center, July 2019. Ossip van Duivenbode.