Venice, drones fly into deconsecrated church. It is the performance of Drift

In Venice until May 1, "Social Sacrifice," a performance by the Drift duo that flies drones inside the church as if they were schools of fish being attacked by a predator, can be seen in the former San Lorenzo Church (now Ocean Space) to observe their behavior.

In Venice these days you can see everything, even drones flying inside a deconsecrated church. It happens inside the church of San Lorenzo, near St. Mark’s, which has been deconsecrated for a century and a half and has now become home to an exhibition space called Ocean Space. The drone performance is titled Social Sacrifice, bears the signature of Drift (a Dutch art duo formed by Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta) and is organized by Aorist, a cultural institution that aims to build bridges between the digital and physical domains by supporting an NFT marketplace for artists who create works on the border between art and technology.

Social Sacrifice is Drift’s first indoor aerial drone performance: the idea is to explore the swarming dynamics of a school of fish encountering a predator, with work that thus aims to highlight the tensions that emerge between collective action and individual freedom and how these change in the presence of external threats. Each drone has its own source of light, with the “predator drones” represented in red and the school of fish represented in blue, and the intensity of these lights is influenced by the density of the group: brighter and stronger when closer together, dimmer and weaker when more spread out.

“The new commission,” Aorist explains, “is inspired by the collective intelligence and cooperation exhibited by schools of fish in the face of a predator and highlights how this type of adaptive behavior leads to successful problem solving under uncertain circumstances. For Drift, these insights from nature offer clues to how we might address the myriad challenges we face today, from global pandemics to climate change to geopolitical conflicts.”

DRIFT’s Lonneke Gordjin explains, “True evolution comes from adapting and stepping into unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations to learn and become better. We have a huge challenge ahead of us. If we understand how nature works in uncertain circumstances, it will become easier to accept and accept that we have to go step by step and constantly change and adapt to remain part of the evolution of this earth.”

As part of their ongoing commitment to sustainability, Aorist is collaborating with Ocean Space, the cultural center founded and led by TBA21-Academy, to bring this new DRIFT commission inside St. Lawrence Church. Through interdisciplinary cultural programs, artist commissions, immersive installations and global partnerships, Aorist provides a platform for artists, collectors and enthusiasts to explore and appreciate cutting-edge art. Aorist leverages web3 technology to offer advanced tools for artists to push the boundaries of their creative practice while protecting the principles of ownership, authenticity and social capital. Powered by Algorand, the first Pure Proof of Stake Blockchain, and partnering with ClimateTrade to offset carbon emissions, Aorist minimizes environmental impact by promoting blockchain sustainability. The NFTs produced together with DRIFT’s Social Sacrifice (the performance in fact led to the creation of works in this format) are created in collaboration with digital art pioneer and musician Don Diablo. Aorist is founded by Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile, a pioneer, patron and innovator in the NFT system; Ximena Caminos, site creator, cultural strategist and curator; and Andrea Bonaceto, artist and entrepreneur.

Drift, the project of Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, was founded in 2007. With a multidisciplinary team of 64 people, they work on experiential sculptures, installations and performances. DRIFT manifests the hidden phenomena and properties of nature with the use of technology to learn from the Earth’s underlying mechanisms and to re-establish our connection with it. DRIFT has produced numerous exhibitions and projects around the world. Their work has been exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Met Museum, Stedelijk Museum, among many others.

The bank of glowing, flying fish can be seen in action April 27 through May 1 from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Participation is free but reservations are required on Eventbrite. Inside Ocean Space, it is mandatory to wear a mask (properly covering the nose and mouth) and sanitize your hands with hand sanitizer at the entrance.

Venice, drones fly into deconsecrated church. It is the performance of Drift
Venice, drones fly into deconsecrated church. It is the performance of Drift

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