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Drifting the Digital City

How does it feel to walk the streets when the city has been expanded by technologies that blur the boundary between the physical world and the digital realm?

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Photo of two people listening to electromagnetic signals
Map of London's dark fibre optic network

Photo of the Dark Fiber Network Drift organised by John Wild.

Drifting is the use of unstructured walking techniques to explore the city. Experimental forms of drifting are central to my ongoing research into the digital city. ‘Drifts’ are always social events carried out by two or more walkers. The drift can be viewed as a form of experimental behaviour; an opening oneself up to the world, with the aim of exploring, subverting and re-imagining city space. My drifts use multiple techniques and apparatus to focus on the way digitality transforms the space of the city. Each drift makes a cut into the territory, approaching space from a multiplicity of perspectives.

The experience of the city which occurs through drifting is non-linear. It is broken and fragmented as one site of interest holds the attention only to be superseded by another. One ambience is disrupted as corners are turned and streets are followed. While rooted in the moment, the experience is not restricted to the temporal moment; it time-travels within the present, it reawakens ghosts from the past and folds potential futures into itself.

Drifts are often organised in collaboration with WE ARE BAD or CODED GEOMETRY.