Orphan Drift

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O[rphan] D[frift>] was a collaborative artist created in London in 1994 by Suzanne Karakashian, Ranu Mukherjee, Maggie Roberts and Erle Stenberg. It was said to have 4.5 members because its core artists collaborated with numerous people on mostly site- specific works. Although it was predominantly made up of visual artists, it also involved sound designers, concept engineers and media activists.

As an artistic entity, orphan drift was known for immersive and visually complex works which used the sample and the remix extensively, treating information as matter and the image as a unit of contagion. It produced video and AV performance, collage, text and print works, and published the cyberpunk novel o(rphan)<d<rift. Much of its work explored mimetic patterns of desire, production and consumption- particularly in relation to the rapid technological changes happening at the time- drawing heavily on cyberpunk fiction, polyrythmic electronica and the underpininngs of African religious systems.

0rphan drift also functioned as an experiment with artistic subjectivity, operating collectively as a singular artist which subsumed the individual artistic identities of its core members. Its mode of production questioned art world conventions around labor and individual authorship as well as object hood, preferring site specific, temporary installation and sometimes performative modes of address - though still rooted in visual aesthetics.

Orphan drift was cross-contextual and made extensive contributions from 1994 - 2003 in the social arenas around contemporary art, underground music and cyber-feminism/post-structural philosophy. They were shown widely including at the Tate Modern, Hayward and Cabinet Galleries in London, contributed cybervisuals to the set of Stephen Speilberg's 'AI' and 'Minority Report' features and Leftfield and NIN world tours and participated in 10 years of international Video art and AV Electronica art events in Norway, Germany, Canada, UK, South Africa and USA.

Official Website
Critical Articles
  • 0(rphan)d(rift>)cyberpositive is an experimental sci fi novel, collectively authored by a group of asked and unasked contributors and edited by OD’s Maggie Roberts. It was published in 1995 with support from Nick Land and Cabinet Editions, serving as our manifesto and as the catalogue for the debut exhibition of the same name. It came together in the spirit of much of our visual work, bringing together processes of sampling and looping as well as the William Burroughs cut up technique, referring to a breakdown and reordering of language from a post apocalyptic POV.
  • Berlin screening, 2013.
See also