Murmuration - CODAworx


Client: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)

Location: Scottsdale, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2019

Project Team

Creative Lead

Anthony Rowe



Liam Birtles


Production Manager

Dan Pearson



Ash Wilkie



Julie Ganas


Exhibitions Manager

Laura Best



An immersive, digital, walkthrough public art installation that uses some 750 individually suspended points of light and sound to create a responsive data swarm that swirls around visitors’ heads.

The piece uses mesh-networked data systems to connect 500 bespoke orbs that each control and emit light and sound, creating dynamic flows of live data, sound and light. These flowing behaviours are inspired by the murmurations (flocking patterns) of starlings.

Murmuration is a Squidsoup project, originally commissioned by SMoCA (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art). Sound design by Squidsoup and Ollie Bown.

The work was first shown at SMoCA from december 2019 to June 2020, and was then shown at London’s Canary Wharf as part of their Connected by Light festival (November 2020 – March 2021).


Murmuration was originally commissioned to celebrate the 20th annivarsary of SMoCA (Scottsdale Museum of Contmporary Arts). The work needed to run 24/7, as an ambient sound work during the day, and as a light art project at night. At dawn and dusk, the piece come to a dramatic crescendo.


Murmuration is a Squidsoup project commissioned for Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Sound design by Ollie Bown and Squidsoup, with additional sonic components from Garth Paine and students at ASU.

Organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Curator of Programming Julie Ganas.

Funded in part by The City of Scottsdale and Kickstarter.

The original exhibition ran from 8 November 2019 until April 2020.

Additional Information

Murmuration is a site-specific artwork that uses digital processes, light, and sound to create a dynamic audiovisual experience suspended around the exterior of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The piece uses networked data systems to connect over 700 orbs containing light and audio sources, creating a responsive data swarm that swirls around the building – a vortex of live data. Each autonomous unit responds to their environment to create an array of virtual data murmurations. The artwork cycles through three phases throughout its twenty-four-hour loop. During the daytime, Murmuration offers a spatialized, harmonious auditory experience with digital murmurations incorporating a range of local and fictional birds flying around the piece. At dusk and dawn, the work transforms into a dynamic display of light, harmony, and disharmony as the murmuration comes to life, creating chordal waves of light and sound that flow around the building. During the nighttime, Murmuration visually shifts into a more calm, delicate cycle of undulating colors accompanied by gentle ripples of suppressed energy. Together, this ecosystem of digital forces creates a virtual aspect to the work, transforming the physical space around it.