Art, or just a bunch of, er, balloons?

LONDON (Reuters) – Art is well known for its power to move people, but a new installation in London can move itself – it comprises a series of autonomous floating spheres, that interact with visitors and the space on their own.

The installation — “+/- Human” in London’s Roundhouse — is a collaboration between choreographer Wayne McGregor and art group Random International.

Several drones — floating balloons with small propeller motors attached — are fitted with a motion tracking system to allows them to identify and interact with visitors.

“We wanted to make a piece which was a piece related to autonomous objects and live bodies”, McGregor told Reuters.

“I love that relationship between body and machine, I love that between intelligences, I love it between this notion of what is autonomy and how wide can we have a sense of autonomy nowadays,” he added.

The spheres’ motion tracking system looks for a person to interact with, and allows the drone to find a pathway to reach that person. If the person moves, it reacts, and will interact with them until deciding to move on.

“In basic terms, it really is a kind of attraction and repulsion,” McGregor said.

Reporting by David Doyle; writing by Mark Hanrahan in London

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