Are you planning a trip to the Netherlands in the near future? In that case, it will be worth visiting the forest of Drouwen, in the province of Drenthe. The artistic collective WERC wanted to fill with mystery and light the dark Dutch winter nights with a light installation called ‘Pixi’. For the curious, it is available from October to June 2018, but only at nightfall…
The Pixies, in British folklore, are little fairies who live in the woods. The name of this project could not be better, because when one of the visitors takes a flashlight and the rest of the Pixies begin to activate, it seems that hundreds of goblins come out to receive you.
If yours are the walks between trees in the light of the moon but the phone screen or explorer flashlights break that bucolic atmosphere you want to enjoy, we propose the perfect alternative: ‘Pixi’. Around 1000 LED lights , placed in a diamond-shaped wooden box, blend in with nature and dot the darkness of the forest with red specks creating a magical setting.
This digital organism is inspired by complex patterns that exist in nature, such as flocks of birds or schools of fish. With ‘Pixi’, WERC wanted to find out if a technical phenomenon can mimic the complex aesthetics of nature and so it has been, they have managed to create a symbiosis between digital technology and Mother Nature.
When we observe a handful of Pixies , there are no discernible patterns of behavior. But when we step back and observe them as a whole, the connections between them become clear and visible . The shapes, directions and colors are decided by the group through signals that are passed from one to another through radio waves. When a Pixi receives a message, it interprets it and then sends it. This creates a live feedback network similar to a neural network. WERC only provides the framework in which then the Pixies act freely creating an infinite number of combinations of light and complex images.
How do they work? Simple, they have a battery that provides them with energy to work during the fall and winter months. They sleep for the day and wake up at night when a visitor picks up a Pixi lantern in the woods. “The Pixi lanterns are in place, so you have adjustable light bulbs at the foot of the dark forest, to prevent the light of normal and mobile lanterns. Each group of visitors takes two of these lanterns that communicate in turn with the Pixies of the forest, allowing them to know that visitors are on the way. This works like this so that the Pixies are active only when the visitors are present anddo not react to animals, “says Olav Huizer, one of the founders of WERC Collective, to Condé Nast Traveler Spain.
The Staatsbosbeheer (Board of Management of the protected sites) bought the installation ‘Pixi’ to transform the forest into an exciting place . When the installation was built, tested and installed, Staatsbosbeheer and WERC took into account how ‘Pixi’ influences the environment . An independent agency was commissioned to carry out an ecological check . In this way, variables such as light intensity, color and placement were adjusted to minimize this influence.
Tickets cost € 14’50 and are available to buy here. Drouwen is about two and a half hours from Amsterdam. You can not lose this!