Diffusion Choir

The sculpture celebrates the beauty of individuals working together in harmony, moving as a single entity, creating something greater than the sum of their parts.


Diffusion Choir is a kinetic sculpture commissioned by Biomed Realty for the headquarters of Shire, a global biotechnology company, in Cambridge, MA. Hypersonic worked in collaboration with Sosolimited and Plebian Design to design, program, engineer, and fabricate this artwork.

Four hundred kinetic elements form a hanging volume in the sunlit atrium, describing the motions of an invisible flock of birds soaring throughout the space. Elements are made from a durable high-density polyethlyene membrane which can expand and contract via a silent stepper motor controlled by custom circuit boards. The elements open and close individually, choreographed by custom software running real-time mathematical flocking algorithms. Invisible birds exit and join the space over the span of each hour, periodically coalescing into a single flock.

The movements of the sculpture are perpetually evolving, driven by the flocking simulation. Over the course of each hour, smaller groups of birds coalesce into a single entity, soaring through the air in fluid collaboration. At each quarter hour, the birds gather and perform special choreographed gestures across the sculpture.   

The content cycles through twenty programs, ranging from clouds to rain drops to colonies of bacteria to flocking birds to geese to cuttlefish skin to pulsating black holes. The animations were created through a combination of algorithmic software modeling of natural phenomena and compositing of actual footage.

The sculpture reflects the collaborative and innovative spirit of the work happening in the building. The graceful breath-like movements of the piece create an open, contemplative space for all the inhabitants of the building to enjoy.