A light installation by Groningen artist collective WERC consisting of more than 1,000 LED lights that communicate wirelessly, reacting to each other and to the visitors.

Located in Drenthe, the Netherlands, Pixi was inspired by complex patterns that exist in nature such as flocks of birds and schools of fish. The installation was designed to be self-sufficient and make their own choices, but are also influenced by environmental factors from nature.

The Pixi was developed as a single individual and then reproduced. The more organisms are added to the flock, the more complex the patterns become, and the more intelligently the organism communicates and collaborates. This creates a lively network of feedback that is reminiscent of a neural net. The Pixi flock does not show a pre-programmed pattern. The shapes, directions, and colours are decided by the group as they pass signals on to each other. The Pixi’s brain is a microprocessor containing behavioural rules, the bases of which are identical. The behaviour dictates how often, how fast, and to how many other Pixies a message should be sent.

When a Pixi receives a message, it interprets this and then sends it on. When a Pixi hasn’t received a message for some time, it will initiate contact on its own. By having the behavioural rules executed locally and in multitudes, complex images arise.