Therme Art Program

Franchise Freedom Unveils a Surprise Performance in Rotterdam

Franchise Freedom, the flying drone artwork by Studio Drift, held a surprise performance in Rotterdam as an encouraging sign of hope amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The performance saw hundreds of Intel® Shooting Star™ drones light up the night sky, moving in unique patterns generated by a decentralised algorithm that mimics the unique flight patterns of starlings flying in massive flocks. The performance was also accompanied by live music from pianist Joep Beving.

This iteration of Franchise Freedom was a tribute to those who work day and night for the freedom and safety of others, and was dedicated to two fundamental human rights: health and freedom.

Photo of Franchise Freedom, Rotterdam, 6 May 2020

“Freedom is not only an individual experience. Our freedom exists because of how we work together as a group,” commented Studio Drift’s Lonneke Gordijn at the close of the live performance. “Our health, our environments and our space to move will be compromised if we don’t start working together as one nation or as one world. Looking into the future, and especially now, this is a lesson we have to learn from this crisis. Franchise Freedom shows how nature finds ways to be free within the restrictions of a group.


Photo of Franchise Freedom, Rotterdam, 6 May 2020

Using Intel® Drone Lightshow technology, each drone features an independent light source that fluctuates in intensity and colour, responding to the distance of the other surrounding drones. As the performance’s finale, the drones formed a red beating heart.

Franchise Freedom is the first-ever imitation of a natural phenomenon by machines working with decentralised algorithms at this scale.


Franchise Freedom by Studio Drift is organised through Franchise Freedom LTD, a joint venture between Therme Art and Pace Gallery.