Studio Drift: An artistic reflection on the impact of digitalisation

The oeuvre of Studio Drift engages with themes such as the illusion of freedom, the individual versus the group, as well as the tension between the real and the virtual world. Studio Drift invites us to reflect on the impact of technology and digitalisation on our society.  Several recent works explore the paradoxical relationship between the real and the virtual world.

Manipulating light and movement:

Studio Drift was founded in 2007 by Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta. Their focus is creating multi-disciplinary site-specific interactive installations, sculptures, objects and films, which propose a distinct mix between the latest science fiction inspired hi-tech developments and their poetic imagery.

Studio Drift is an Amsterdam based studio manipulating light and movement to investigate relationships between nature, technology and mankind. At first glance their work seems to refer to familiar situations from our daily life but on further investigation these references are brought into question.

The viewer is manipulated into reshaping their relationship towards their environment and personal connections, stimulating open minded futuristic prospects where contradictions merge.

A perfect example is the constant dialogue between the artists Lonneke and Ralph them self. This dialogue is ever ongoing and even embedded in their name: Lonneke’s personality is the embodiment of the English translation of the word Drift; Carried naturally to find a path by a current flow of air or water; Ralph’s personality is embodied by the Dutch translation of the word Drift; a constant contentious inner urge to wield the future to one’s vision.

An utopian glimpse into the future:

Currently the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is presenting the first solo show of Studio Drift: In addition to early designs, the exhibition features new, previously unseen work by the Dutch duo. Specially for the presentation at the Stedelijk, Studio Drift have created the largest-ever installation of Fragile Future (see cover photo). At the core of the installation will be Fragile Future Chandelier 3.5 (2012) acquired by the museum in 2015.

The focus of Studio Drift’s work are the changing relationships between man, nature and technology. Their first project, Fragile Future, now an iconic series of light sculptures  individually applied to LED lights, brought the duo international renown. Over the years, the work evolved into a system composed of modules, and can be combined in various configurations. This type of design craftsmanship stands in marked contrast with today’s mass production processes. Fragile Future offers a utopian glimpse into our future. Like almost all work by Studio Drift, Fragile Future can be adapted to create a unique composition for any space. Specially for the Stedelijk, the studio will produce the largest-ever installation of Fragile Future.

Another highlight is Drifter, a floating concrete monolith (see photo below) measuring four by two by two meters. After making its world premiere at New York’s Armory Show in 2017, this installation traveled to the Stedelijk. In total, the presentation comprises eight of Studio Drift’s room-filling installations, together with a selection of films.

Curator Ingeborg de Roode has stated:

“We’ve been following Studio Drift for many years. After purchasing Fragile Future Chandelier 3.5 in 2015, we were waiting for the right moment to show the piece at the museum, together with other works by Studio Drift. Now that they have developed a consistent oeuvre throughout more than a decade and gained international acclaim with pieces such as Concrete Storm and Drifter, this is the perfect moment to present the first survey of their work in the Netherlands.”

Location: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL)
Date: 25 April 2018 – 26 August 2018 

Click here for information about the exhibition. 
Click here for more information about Studio Drift.

Photo credits: Judith Bradlwarter. ©

Watch this short film to get an idea of the exhibition at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.


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