Artist Collective Creates A Digital Organism Of Light In A Dutch Forest

Artist Collective Creates A Digital Organism Of Light In A Dutch Forest
Arts & Culture

WERC made a digital organism inspired by nature's complex patterns

Emma Hutchings
  • 7 december 2017

The Dutch artist collective WERC has created a light installation called Pixi with support from the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands. They were commissioned by Staatsbosbeheer, which manages the Netherlands’ green heritage and wanted to turn a local forest into an exciting place to be during short, dark winter days.

Pixi is a digital organism that was inspired by the complex patterns that exist in nature, like flocks of birds and schools of fish. It was designed to be self-sufficient and make its own choices, while also being influenced by environmental factors.


Each Pixi has a pulsating light and when they are viewed from a distance, their connections become clear, with more complex patterns as more organisms are added to the flock. No two Pixies are exactly the same, with the shape of the wooden casing differing slightly.

The shapes, directions, and colors are decided by the group as they wirelessly pass signals to each other. When a Pixi receives a message, it is interpreted and then sent on. If a Pixi hasn’t received a message for some time, it will initiate contact on its own.

Nature becomes part of the design process due to visitors, temperature, and humidity, with Pixi adopting location-specific behavior and demonstrating flock-inspired patterns. The Pixies have a battery that provides sufficient energy for them to work during the autumn and winter months. They sleep during the day and wake up at night when a visitor takes a Pixi lantern into the forest. If its energy levels drop, it becomes less active.

You can check out the Pixi light installation in the video below:

WERC Collective


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