Algorithms Dérive

We produced an “Auditing Algorithms” Dérive and we invite you to contribute to it. A dérive (French for “drift”) is an algorithmic process created by situationist artists that produces an unplanned journey. A dérive asks participants to “drop…[their] usual motives for movement and action” through a city and to replace them with experiences motivated by randomness. Dérives are intended to change the participant’s way of thinking about space by making new experiential or emotional connections that otherwise would never have happened. Dérives are a form of psychogeography.

How Dérives Work

Dérives have been organized using decks of cards containing instructions. The cards may be shuffled and groups of participants are told to obey the instructions on one card and not to move on to the next card for a set amount of time.

The Dérive App

Eduardo Cachucho, Babak Fakhamzadeh, and others have created a Dérive app for iPhone and Android that facilitates sharing decks of virtual cards.

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Our Auditing Algorithms Dérive

For our workshop we have created a collaborative dérive highlighting algorithmic processes.

  1. To begin, you’ll need to be outside. These are fun to do alone, with another person, or in a small group.
  2. One person needs to download and install the Dérive app on their phone.
  3. You’ll need to sign up for an account on the app.
  4. Click “My Groups” and enter the invitation code: 116.vQ44K6rSE2  This will add you to the group “Auditing Algorithms.” You should be able to start our dérive by clicking on “Auditing Algorithms” from “My Groups” at this time.
  5. Cards are randomly selected for you and (by design) you cannot advance to the next card for three minutes.
  6. When you are finished, click “Stop.”

Alternately, you can merge our dérive with a more typical dérive:

  1. Complete steps 1-4 above.
  2. Go back to the main page of the app, then press “Start a new dérive.”
  3. Check the box next to “Auditing Algorithms” in the “Themed” section. “Urban base deck” should already be checked.
  4. We recommend moving the slider on the urban base deck all the way to the left. This will reduce your chance of receiving “generic” cards, and increase the frequency of algorithmic auditing cards you are likely to see.
  5. Cards are randomly selected for you and (by design) you cannot advance to the next card for three minutes.
  6. When you are finished, click “Stop.”

After the dérive, help us improve it and build it collaboratively:

  1. Return to the front page of the dérive app.
  2. Click “My Groups” and navigate to the “Auditing Algorithms” group, and click on the “Auditing Algorithms” deck.
  3. You can use this interface to vote on cards and to submit your own cards using the interface in the app. Each card is a short phrase or sentence and an image. If you don’t have an image a generic image will be displayed.

See Also

Theory of the DériveLes Lèvres Nues #9 

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