• Photo: Arjen van Eijk

  • Photo: Arjen van Eijk

  • Photo: Arjen van Eijk

Social Sacrifice

For the Venice Biennale 2022, DRIFT presents their first-ever indoor aerial drone performance, called Social Sacrifice.


Social Sacrifice is a performance with 100 drones.

Produced by Drone Stories and SKYMAGIC


For years, DRIFT has been studying flocking behaviour in nature and translating these emergent feats of synchronicity into performative installations using autonomous flying drones. The resulting work, Franchise Freedom, translates the pattern language of starling murmurations into mesmerising drone choreography that offers a poetic meditation on the tensions between individual autonomy and collective interdependence. performance, called Social Sacrifice. For the Venice Biennale 2022, DRIFT presents a new version of the work, their first-ever indoor aerial drone performance, called Social Sacrifice.

This new performance, Social Sacrifice, is inspired by the collective intelligence and cooperation exhibited by schools of fish when facing a predator and highlights the way this kind of adaptive swarming behaviour leads to successful problem solving in uncertain circumstances. For DRIFT, these insights from nature offer clues as to how we might tackle the myriad challenges we face today — from the global pandemic to climate change to geopolitical conflicts. DRIFT’s Lonneke Gordjin explains, “True evolution comes from adaptation and from getting into unknown and uncomfortable situations, to learn and become better. We have a massive challenge ahead of us. If we understand how nature works in uncertain circumstances, it will become easier to accept and embrace that we have to go step by step and constantly change and adapt to remain a part of the evolution of this earth.”

Co-commissioned by Aorist and TBA21-Academy’s Ocean Space, Social Sacrifice animates a flying school of A.I. fish that “swim” through the Church of San Lorenzo every evening from April 20 till May 1, 2022. Flying overhead above the audience, the drones dance and battle one another, their movements accentuated through light and colour. Each drone has its own light source, with the “predator drones” represented in red and the school of fish represented in white, and the intensity of these lights are influenced by the density of the group—brighter and stronger when closer together, fainter and weaker when more diffuse. The performance soundtrack is composed by artist and musician Don Diablo.


Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode
Photo: Arjen van Eijk

video: Arjen van Eijck