“Fragile Future 3.13” by Studio DRIFT: July Collection Highlight

High Museum of Art
Jul 14 · 3 min read

In this fascinating light sculpture by DRIFT, technology and nature coexist in a delicate balance.

By Eva Berlin, Digital Content Specialist, High Museum of Art

All aglow with soft orbs of light suspended in a high-tech lattice, Fragile Future 3.13 features real dandelion seeds, handpicked and meticulously attached seed-by-seed to a series of LED lights connected through three-dimensional bronze circuits.

Although the two elements contrast visually (angular circuitry and soft, ethereal dandelions gone to seed), they come together in a striking celebration of engineering — both natural and man-made.

A dandelion with a light at its center.
Clear rectangular prism with a lattice of wires, dandelions, and LED lights.
Fragile Future 3.13, 2013, dandelion seeds, phosphorous bronze, LED bulbs, and Plexiglas, Lonneke Gordijn (Dutch, born 1980), artist; Ralph Nauta (Dutch, born Britain, 1978), artist; DRIFT, Dutch, established 2007, maker.

The common dandelion, although often seen as a weed, is edible, medicinal, and a crucial early spring pollinator. Each dandelion, composed of tiny parachuting seeds, is a vision of nature’s sophisticated technology. The tiny florets are finely tuned to environmental conditions, adjusting their forms with changing humidity levels, allowing each individual seed to take flight on a gust of wind, or on the breath of a wish.

Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of studio DRIFT pose together against a black backdrop.
A person wearing blue latex gloves uses tweezers to carefully attach dandelion florets to a lightbulb in a lattice of bronze circuitry.
Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of DRIFT. One by one, dandelion florets are attached to small LED lightbulbs. Photos by J.W. Kaldenbach and Juuke Schoorl.

DRIFT’s artwork acknowledges that nature paves the way for technology, and it pushes us to question if humanity’s technological advancements are superior to the evolutions of nature. It inspires us to imagine a world in which technology achieves the equilibrium present in the natural world.

The DRIFT team says, “The project can be seen as a critical yet utopian vision on the future of our planet, where two seemingly opposite evolutions have made a pact to survive.”

Hear more about the piece from the artists in the video below:

DRIFT Video by Xinix Films

See Fragile Future 3.13 in Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting, on view through September 26. Learn more about the exhibition at the High’s upcoming talk:

Virtual Curator Conversation: Sarah Schleuning and Cindi Strauss
August 26, 6 p.m. | Free for members, $16.50 for not-yet-members
Get Tickets

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