DRIFT at Minneapolis Museum of Art

DRIFT, Meadow, Indianapolis Museum of Arts 2019. Courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Arts at Newfields.

Pace Verso

Schema by DRIFT with Jeff Davis, Explained

Published Thursday, Oct 19, 2023

DRIFT artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta—known for their explorations of natural phenomena through technologically minded artworks—and artist Jeff Davis, known for his explorations of color and form through algorithmic systems, have joined forces to produce a new generative art project titled Schema. Taking DRIFT’s widely exhibited Meadow installation as a point of departure, Schema comprises 300 animated digital artworks uniting DRIFT and Davis’s artistic visions.

The following explainer outlines the conceptual and technical underpinnings of Schema, which is produced as part of the multifaceted partnership between Pace Verso and Art Blocks and will be available for purchase through a Dutch auction hosted on (opens in a new window) artblocks.io beginning at 12 p.m. EST on November 13.

Background and Conceptual Summary

Schema—a series of 300 unique, generative, and animated digital artworks—is inspired by the beauty and simplicity of the two-dimensional schematic designs for DRIFT’s widely exhibited, three-dimensional installation Meadow, an upside-down landscape in which illuminated mechanical flowers open and close as part of a poetic choreography. Hung from a ceiling, this mesmeric work examines the impermanence of the changing seasons and the phenomenology of nature. Iterations of Meadow—which was originally produced as a site-specific installation commissioned by the Chodov Centre in Prague—have been presented at art institutions around the world, including the LG Arts Centre in Seoul and the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.

For this truly collaborative project, DRIFT took the lead on animated elements, while Davis focused on its visual and compositional nuances, bringing his expertise in color theory to the fore of the new artworks.

Screenshot 2023-10-19 at 9.27.05 AM

Meadow drawing, Chodov in space close-up. Courtesy of DRIFT.

Technical Details

At its core, Schema is a love letter to the preliminary work that goes into realizing any large-scale art installation—in this case, diagram-making. Together, Gordijn, Nauta, and Davis developed a custom algorithm that brings Meadow’s formal and material idiosyncrasies to life, recasting its diagrammatic origins in four possible styles: Diagram, the format that most closely resembles DRIFT’s preliminary diagrams for Meadow; Color Study, which strips out the structural elements of the diagrams and express the flowers as abstract rings of color; Sketch, which renders the flowers as line drawings with chalk-like accents; and Blueprint, which resembles the style of a blueprint.


Still from Schema, Mint #0 of 300 unique, generative artworks © DRIFT and Jeff Davis, courtesy Pace Verso and Art Blocks

In addition to these four different drawing styles, the project’s algorithmic system randomly chooses two parent colors for each artwork, which may result in a wide spectrum of colors appearing across the composition from left to right or, alternatively, a more monochromatic scheme. The flowers themselves also have their own color systems that determine the relationship between their physical color and the color of their internal lights, creating gradient effects as the cast light blends with the local color.

Each flower in the artwork also runs on its own cycle, deliberately avoiding synchronization and giving the whole scene a sense of organic motion. Once the viewer clicks on a static Schema composition to activate its motion, the animations in the artwork evolve endlessly.

IMAGE 4 MEADOW_PARQ  Bankok_Courtesy of DRIFT

PARQ Bankok. Courtesy of DRIFT.

Generative Effects

A generative process gives each of the 300 Schema artworks a unique set of animated and formal characteristics. In addition to drawing styles, variations in visual effects for any given Schema composition include:

● The number and location of flowers

● Each flower’s apparent position with respect to the viewer, creating a sense of perspective and depth akin to in-person experiences of Meadow

● The speed at which each flower opens and closes

● Day and night modes that impact ambient light effects

  • Pace Verso — Schema by DRIFT with Jeff Davis, Explained, Oct 19, 2023