Interactive Installation at Canary WharfThe etymon of the word 'voyage' comes from Latin viāticum, which means 'provision for travelling'; the inspiration of this artwork is to allow people to travel and sail with absolute freedom to all the places we care to imagine. Paper boats bring us in voyages through childhood memories, wishes and imaginings. Paper boats’ on the water invite everyone to make a transition from reality to imagination, reliving childhood memories and embracing our freedom. Creating an unexpected and unusual addition to the landscape, Voyage inspires the viewers to think creatively about the spaces around them; the dynamic coloured light scenarios of the artwork invite the viewer to make a smooth transition between reality and daydream.
To find the perfect geometry and proportions of the paper boats, Aether & Hemera developed a parametric software that allowed to change the different dimensions of the boat as a function of the folding positions in 2D and visualising the 3D model in real-time.
All boats are connected to the ones in its proximity through heavy-duty threads. This resulting net of boats is kept in position by anchoring weights on the riverbed where needed along its edges.
Each boat is designed to resist to waves and wind staying upright with a floater and a stabilisation weight; all dimensions and weights have been balanced to maintain the boats at a right level over the water and ensuring they resist to rain, or other forces that they will have to withstand and in consideration of all electric cables they have to support.
The individual boats are translucent elements folded from polypropylene sheets; polypropylene is a non-toxic and fully recyclable material.
300 'paper boat' items have been folded, covering an entire level's atrium entrance of One Canada Square.
The fleet is also an array of RGB LEDs which are individually addressable and are programmed for showing lighting effects, including geometrical patterns, dynamic waves of colours and vibrant rainbows; the LEDs are embedded inside the sails.
The electronics of each boat consist of custom micro controllers and data receivers, allowing each boat in the field to be addressable, and individually controlled in colour by transmitters on the dock's edge.
The control system includes an Arduino, a Rasperry Pi as DHCP and Web server, a wireless access point, bespoke DMX circuitry and and software to allow passers-by to interact with the artwork and change colours and patterns by connecting their mobile phone to the Voyage wi-fi network, going to voyage.co.uk and following the path.
he idea is that the fleet of small paper boats composes an organic matrix of lights that uses the water as canvas for drawing ever changing coloured lighting effects to create an imaginative and immersive magical landscape. Blurring the lines between the real and hyperreal, it will invite the thoughts of the visitors to cross the borders of their imagination.
There are different points of view to appreciate the installation: a more intimate scale where people near the water can see the small paper-boat items and connect to their poetic character and a more majestic view: a glowing area of more than 50 by 15 meters - from a longer distance. People can see the spectacular scenography of the entire fleet from the windows of the nearby buildings or from the bridge, where they can appreciate the dynamic scenery.
'When night comes I bury my face in my arms and dream that my paper boats float on and on under the midnight stars. The fairies of sleep are sailing in them, and the lading is their baskets full of dreams.'