‘Voyage’ by Aether & Hemera: A Journey to Imagination

London: visitors can admire the interactive light show until February 15th

by Valentina Ieva
2 Love 627 Visits

‘Voyage’ installation consists of three hundred floating paper boats, encasing coloured dynamic LED lights that come alive at night, in the Middle Dock of Canary Wharf putting on a spectacular light show.

The etymon of the word ‘voyage’ comes from Latin ’viāticum’, which means ’provision for travelling’, and the aim of the artwork is to allow viewers to travel and sail with absolute freedom to all the places they care to imagine.

Aether & Hemera’s installation is designed to be an interactive experience; people can engage with the installation and impact on the behaviour of the lights from their mobile phone.

Colourful paper boats’ on the water invites everyone to make a transition from reality to imagination, reliving childhood memories and embracing our freedom; blurring the lines between the real and hyper-real, ‘Voyage’ invites the thoughts of the visitors to cross the borders of their imagination.

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. 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.

Photo credits:

1-2-8-9. (c) Peter Matthews

3. Interactive RGB lights (c) Philip Vile

4-10-11. (c) AetherAndHemera

5-12. (c) Ian Docwra

6-7. (c) Philip Vile


    • Valentina Ieva

      Valentina Ieva


      Bari / Italy

      Laureata in Ingegneria edile-architettura, giornalista per professione, web writer per diletto. Amante di architettura, design, fotografia e libri di carta. Dipendente dai social, Instagram e InstaStories su tutti. Affamata di vita, viaggi e storie da scoprire. Qualunque forma d'arte mi affascina da sempre e non posso pensare una vita senza: emozioni forti, immaginazione, buona musica, cucina pugliese, sole e gatti. Per dirla con le parole di Battiato, non potrei vivere senza: ‘un soffio al)