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2010 The Drifter
Perron 58, Tilburg, Nederland

Voor de tentoonstelling 'The Destroyed Room', georganiseerd door 'Whatspace'
Met veel dank aan drifters Joep de Kort en Tim van Bebber.


The Thrill is Gone

“We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end”
(Blaise Pascal)

Our inner world is one endless sequence of a stop-motion movie. Our eyes cannot keep up with the speed in which the world collides around us. Everything can change in one split second and each second is a new part of us: occupying life, gaining consciousness, expanding views, attempting to comprehend what we see and how it relates to ourselves.

For the drifter this is the principle on which he relies. Standing still in a meditative state or densely but thrillingly embracing high velocity: he seeks and he shall find. The arousal of moving faster than our eyes can keep up with – almost beyond our true ability – is the electricity he needs to feel alive and kicking, to feel the edge of his responsiveness, his flexibility to adjust and the incapability to accept that 'this is it'. In that form of speed it is even like there's no motion at all, or at least a sequence of images that move in slow-motion. These visual hallucinations -“abstract forms of speed and sound”- already fascinated Balla, Boccioni and their contemporaries in the early 20th century. Standing still actually consists of the same ingredients. But in the eye of the cyclone we feel that we loose the basic instinct, the tension of survival and a true drifter will start wondering when the action will kick in.
Speed has become the essence of life. The faster the better when it comes to science and economics; we will try to comprehend it all later on. If we look at the history of the science of speed, or 'dromology' as the post-modern phenomenologist Paul Virilio calls it, we can safely conclude that technology turned around the history of mankind. Or at least it put things into higher gear. Following Virilio's train of thoughts we act like ants whose nest has been stirred up and so we spread out in all directions.“Following the urbanization of space, revolutions in digital transmission technologies—which approach the limit of the speed-of-light—will fundamentally change the topological texture of our temporal environment. The speed of electromagnetic waves reaches an absolute velocity, establishing a new globalized time standard. We have passed from the local relative velocity of terrestial transport to the global and absolute velocity of digital media transmission. Interactive digital technologies will have the effect of "urbanizing time" as we know it.1”We don't have to agree with Virilio's theories to understand that this is a fact. Coming from a era where linear perspective and the rapidity in which our legs (or a horses legs!) could move and within little over a millennium finding ourselves able to move faster than the eye can see, must have an immense effect on our collective mind.
“The Drifter can easily be seen as an iconic image of this hyperspeed gone crazy. Maybe this could be called the 'dromological kick'; the individual excitement and depth of nowhere to go and going there fast and in circles. This is all about the thrill, about intensity, the heat of the moment, and how it reverberates in us afterwards.”2

Doorenweerd's 'Drifter' reverberates in us, also when it is witnessed in after-'live'. The short video-documentation gives us different points of view, it even allows you to be part of the event for a moment while the camera takes seat next to the driver. We can feel the thrill even when it is gone; the nerving but somehow harmonious noise that resonates in your body and the tingling feeling of danger. It is almost like you can still inhale the smell of burning rubber, experience the feeling of entrapment, the hazardous carbon-monoxide fumes that cut your throat, the rush of time in space, man versus the machine. It is all still there, even if you are left with the drawings of circles on the ground in a space where only a video is playing on a screen; the evidence of what happened there at a certain point in time. Inner and outer spaces start to merge together and the tension is still trapped in the big hall.

And now, in this booklet, the speed is gone, the smell is gone, the thrill is gone. We are left with patient stills and words on paper. I feel like taking a fast car and try my luck elsewhere, like a true drifter...

N. Hoffmann, for 'Flow and Drift and Perform and Sit', Publication Onomatopee, February 2012
Quotes:
1-Professor of management in bio-technical engineering Ronald E. Perser at SFSU, CA, USA: http://online.sfsu.edu/~rpurser/revised/pages/DROMOLOGY.htm
2-Jeroen Doorenweerd, 5 februari 2012