Floating Room is an art x tech installation that engages with issues on drones, domestication, and the non-human. Presented as a compositional aviary for household things, floating products in Floating Room are semi-autonomous airborne whimsies created by a hybrid of featherweight, sculptural forms merged with UAV technology. These floating objects maintain their conventional function while also aerodynamically traversing their airspace, e.g. a lamp can fly and emit light. Sensors and parameters in their program define activity; states that change from static rest to suspending against gravity. With semi-autonomous decision making they may hover, drift, change altitude, switch flight time, and finally sometimes crash; a crash being an integral accident. Within this systematized room, floating products may cause dynamic aerial interactions with other domestic things. They may trim a houseplant or blow papers and pages in books all the while stirring up home aromas. With their capability they render the non-human.
Every hour a performer enters the room, called the Floating Room Keeper. The keeper’s actions include: cleaning up the mess and caring for the floating products — mending their wounds, refilling their energy, and arranging them. On every occurrence there is dynamic change; an indeterminable amount of composition, airflow, accelerated motion, virtual volumes, and space-time relationships.
Floating Room is an experimental and physical message that folds satire with contemporary discourses regarding drone and flight technologies, novel approaches to product delivery, and smart homes. Drones are effectively employed in both private and public sectors. Sharing space with this technology normalizes our relationship to drones. Floating Room continues the decontextualization of popular knowledge that UAV’s are for violent militant use and suggests ludic narratives. Enabling household things with the ability to semi-autonomously fly and teaching them to follow certain behaviors, in essence, is domesticating our products.
The first iteration of Floating Room was shown at Chronus Art Center, Shanghai 2016. A scaled iteration of Floating Room will be exhibited at ACCelerate, Smithsonian 2022.
- Paul DeMarco
- Shachaf Polakow
- Kelsey Shaw-Kaufman
- Mahika Gupta
- Samuel Swope