Six Guinness World Records were broken in the first half of December 2023 at the highly regarded Noor Riyadh Light Festival. Desert Storm, a performance by the Dutch design studio DRIFT, was one of the highlights. The studio mimicked the movements of a swarm of birds using 3,000 drones in its largest-ever performance.
The pensive fusion of technology and art was motivated by the murmurs of starlings. It took ten years of study on these bird formations to create a sophisticated algorithm that accurately captured the choreography. The outcome was a striking installation that gave the impression of a flock of birds dancing across the skyline of the city.
The show shattered two records held by Guinness World. One drone bird was flown as the biggest swarm of drones ever, and the other was a part of Noor Riyadh. With 21,000 drones utilised in the more than 120 light artworks produced for the event, the festival launched the most drones in a single week.
Noor Riyadh is part of a ten-year project to revitalise the capital of Saudi Arabia into an artistic canvas that reflects the energy of the country's youthful and quickly expanding populace. Renowned artists like Vhils, Janet Echelman, and Miguel Chevalier contributed installations to the event in addition to DRIFT. Even though the installations are no longer in place, Refracted Identities, Shared Futures, an exhibition, and several public lectures and workshops are scheduled to run until March 2, 2024. The exhibition, which includes pieces by more than 30 artists, explores mythology, astrophysics, and the various aspects of light.