Project Daedalus (2015)

In October 2014 Abandon Normal Devices (AND) joined forces with Marshmallow Laser Feast and the University of Salford to embark on a research project, titled Project Daedalus. The project’s title is inspired by Daedalus father of Icarus in Greek Mythology. The master craftsman who designed mechanical wings that were flown too close to the sun, as well as the minotaur’s maze. The project looks at using the ingenuity of flight as a cinematic tool.

This research is an exciting opportunity to repurpose drones (quadrotors) for creative control, creating multi-user experiences and new audience environments. The project tests non-linear storytelling and interactive environments where audiences can engage remotely as well as share and create content in new ways.

These tests will be completed as part of three lab events, which will explore how to use tracking, mapping, and possibilities of incorporating first person view. As quadrotors can enter terrain people cannot, combining them with first person view can give us new perspectives. In addition to breaking down geographical barriers, drones can help build new types of connections between art and audience. By their very nature quadrotors can move into the viewers space, creating opportunity for the audience to experience art, film or performance in new ways.

Project Daedalus is at the forefront of AND’s mission is to change the way we think about and push the boundaries of audience experience through a programme that spills out from the screens into the streets Working with collaborators to challenge this new technology’s current uses, the project will explore what is impossible by other means. Drones will give us the opportunity to create stunning performances and artworks.

The learning from this research will inform an open source digital toolkit enabling other cultural organisations to understand how quadroters can revolutionise audience engagement. The toolkit will be housed as part of this project website in Summer 2015.

Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF)
Is a creative studio that produces groundbreaking work at the intersection of art and cutting-edge technology. Founded in 2011 by three multi-talented visual artists, MLF’s focus is creating new experiences that push the creative and technical boundaries. Their work ranges from real-time animations and large-scale interactive installations, to live events and performances.

Andy Miah
Is the principal investigator of our research programme, based at the University of Salford. He has extensive delivery experience with participatory art projects, particularly within the context of digital arts. He has also worked with numerous arts organisations including Future Everything, FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology) and Abandon Normal Devices.

DJI Innovations
DJI is a leading quadrotor company, with the skills and resources to allow the lead team to focus on more adventurous uses of DJI’s technology.

Producing partners: Abandon Normal Devices, University of Salford and Marshmallow Laser Feast and DJI Innovations.

Funded by Nesta R&D (Arts Council, AHRC and Nesta UK).