Following the announcement that Amsterdam-based Studio Drift would be flying 1,000 illuminated drones over Central Park in a performance dubbed “Freedom Franchise,” in which the drones would mimic flight patterns of starlings in order to “[explore] the relationship between man, nature and technology,” bird advocates swiftly shared their concerns about the show’s impact on actual, living birds.
These advocates were especially dismayed over the timing of the performance, though it isn’t immediately clear if any birds were injured.
“This is a VERY BAD IDEA. #lightpollution during peak #birdmigration, which BTW is happening right now, poses a hazard for the millions of birds traveling over NYC on their migrations. COULD WE MOVE THIS to after fall migration?” @NYCAudubon shared on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Council Member Gale Brewer spoke out against the performance as well. “Drones in Central Park on Saturday night should be cancelled. It is peak migration season & birds could be harmed or killed. I have conveyed my opposition to @nycparks and @nycmayorsoffice. I am not opposed to drones, but not in CP at height of migration.”
According to CBS News, “Drift said it consulted with wildlife groups and City Hall to limit any possible dangers.”
Franchise Freedom – Tonight’s Drone Show above The Lake in Central Park inspired by the graceful movements of starlings pic.twitter.com/t8erjqevcH
— Noel Y. Calingasan • NYC (@nyclovesnyc) October 22, 2023
Happening right now in Central Park. 1,000 drones will fly over Central Park this evening. Dubbed “Franchise Freedom,” the open-air public art performance is created by Dutch studio DRIFT pic.twitter.com/89YdiSAgA6
— Alex Chavez (@captiv_8_) October 22, 2023