By staging the world’s first flying formation of 50 multi-rotor drones (quadrocopters), the Ars Electronica Futurelab is not only mastering an enormous conceptual and technical challenge; it’s also—above all—launching a new mode of 3D visualization. Equipping the half-meter-square whirlybirds with LEDs makes each silent-running aircraft a “spaxel”—a pixel in real space—and thus a mobile lighting fixture. The quadrocopters can be steered individually, whereby each one’s position is determined by GPS localization. Thus, each spaxel is part of a constantly morphing depiction in real space. This new form of 3D visualization that’s making its international debut at The Cloud in the Web will become regularly deployable infrastructure at the Futurelab in conjunction with scientific assignments primarily having to do with computer graphics, and will also be available for various types of artistic projects.

A Pixelspaces 2012 session is dedicated to the making of The Cloud in the Web with particular emphasis on the spaxels