Venice 2022 – “Social Sacrifice is about group behavior and how, as a group, we can work together when something is menacing us. At Studio DRIFT, we work on the intersection of nature, humans and technology and we are very interested in behaviours we can see in animals and plants. We believe we can learn a lot from them.” Studio DRIFT co-founder Lonneke Gordijn told Archipanic.
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The studio explored the swarming dynamics exhibited by a school of fish when it encountered a predator and translated it into an Artificial Intelligence-powered aerial performance. “We found that atavic force, that social behaviour of using the group to protect the individual wonderful.” Adds the studio’s co-founder Ralph Nauta. [Until May 1, closed on April 23 at Ocean Space, Chiesa di San Lorenzo, Map, h. 9 pm and 10.30 pm. Book here].
Guests walk into the Saint Lorenzo aisle and as the lights dim down to total darkness, the buzz of flying drones breaks the silence. An intense soundtrack composed by XXX artist and musician El Diablo fills the whole space. AI-controlled drones begin to glow with white light and swim peacefully in mid-air until a small group of menacing red-lit drones enters the scene. The white drones then group ‘making the ball’ while the red ones try to break it by separating single individuals.
“With the soundtrack and audio design I specifically composed for this performance, I aimed to complete the story by using soothing sonorities found in Beethoven and Mozart.” Says Dutch artist and DJ Dom Diablo.
The Social Sacrifice project, the studio’s first indoor performance, was developed in collaboration with Aorist – a next-generation cultural institution bridging the digital and physical domains while supporting a climate-forward NFT marketplace for artists – and TBA21-Academy’s Ocean Space, a Venice-based cultural center for catalysing ocean literacy, research, and advocacy through the arts. Studio Drift’s sister company Drone Stories, a pioneering team turning skies into mesmerising canvas through flying technology, took charge of the execution of the performances.
“Social Sacrifice was born in this church with Ocean Space one night after dinner.” Nauta told Archipanic. “At the time, we had already developed an aerial performance inspired by swarms of birds. Given Ocean Space’s sustainable commitment to preserving the marine environment, we began to explore fish social behaviour and similar dynamics above and below the water surface.”
DRIFT: Social Sacrifice (2022) at the Venice Biennale, 2022. Photos by Ossip van Duivenbode. Video by Arjen van Eijk – Xinix Films.