Watch This Man Use Drones to Blur the Line Between Science and Magic

He flies 24 autonomous quadcopters with gestures and voice commands.


Marco Tempest is a magician for the Marvel era.

In a new video published on his website MagicLab, Tempest demonstrates his new performance piece, where a flock of 24 semi-autonomous drones zoom around him in an aerial dance coordinated only by his gestures and voice.

“Your ancestors called it magic … but you call it science,” Thor said in his 2011 debut. “In my world they are one in the same.”

“Once upon a time, this would have been magic,” Tempest says in the video. “Today, it is a trick of technology.”

Yeah, but can they deliver my Amazon package yet?


Tempest directs the drones like a conductor leading an orchestra, a feat made possible by his collaborators at Rhizomatiks Research, Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi. Rhizomatiks Research is a team of Tokyo-based “Media Artists,” who have been working with drones for the past three years.

Demonstrations like Tempest’s, while clearly scripted and staged, give us a look at the possible future applications of drones in art. Drone photography is a widely recognized and growing medium, but few artists have incorporated the physical flight of drones into their work. As technology continues to advance, it’s not hard to imagine humans walking around with tiny quadcopter personal assistants flying over their shoulders, and artists creating more delicate aerial ballet shows like Tempest’s initial act.

It all puts us one step closer to Thor’s world — we already have a real-life Mjölnir, after all.

See the full dancing-drones video below: