_:Drift: Animal Formation:_

After approximately more than 50 hours of drifting, I realized that there are certain phenomena on a drift that keep reoccuring. Especially certain formations in which the group is moving. Usually, those happen spontaneously, or are intiated by some parts of a group while the rest joins in later. All of formations I will have a closer look below have arised in a drift without a single word being spoken. They are the result of magical moments of co-creation.

So I took a moment to write some of them down. I am pretty sure that there are more formations, even more to develop. Inspired by a comment of a fellow drifter on my last drift, I will name each of them after an animal. If you have better names for them, a different system of naming them, or other formations that you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment.



if not marked otherwise, all pictures are by me

In the Snake-Formation the group forms a line, each participant walking right behind another participant. Usually, the group copies the exact movements and the speed of the leader (i.e. moving around posts, touching specific objects etc.). This formation is often initiated by one participant walking extremly close behind the leader.

There is one specific mode (I happen to encounter) of this formation. I call it the predator-mode in which the leader is following and copying the movemnts of a person that is not part of the drift.


In the Penguin-Formation the group crowds in one spot — similar to penguins who use that technique to protect themselves from the cold. Usually, I see this formation when the group enters some sort of shelter (i.e. a bus stop).


In the Vulture-Formation the group forms a line again but this time shoulder to shoulder. I have seen two slightly different uses of this formation. The first one is about looking at the same object, i.e. at a certain building or at television in a ground-floor apartment. The second one, however, is more about making yourself visible as the drift-group. Once I stood in this formation right in front of a restaurant, and although we were in fact looking into the restaurant, we also positioned ourselves so as to be seen quite prominently from within the restaurant. This is also achieved by moving in this formation.

In one drift I introduced the rule that participants could make a sign whenever they wanted to hold someone’s hand. This was done by raising a hand. Whoever felt like it could then grab that hand. At one point we realized that we have indeed two hands and that you could therefore hold hands with two persons, eventually creating a line of people holding hands — thus moving as a Vulture-Formation.


The Fish-Formation cannot be done by the drift-group itself. As you can see on the picture it needs another crowd. In this formation the drift-group merges with or enters another group (depends a little bit on how visible you are as a drift). So far I have experienced three different modes of this formation:

The lake-mode in which the group enters a static crowd, the upstream-mode in which the drift moves against the direction of a moving crowd, and finally the downstream-mode in which the drift moves with the direction of a crowd.

Finally, I want to end this list with a formation I have not yet seen but that I would love to test in my next drifts. The


This formation is inspired by migratory birds. The leader walks in the front and the rest of the participants group as seen in the picture above, trying to maintain the distance to the others. Playing with the distances amongst the participants could have intersting effects.

As I said, if you have other name-options or more formations that need to be included on this list, go ahead and tell me. I am also intersted in possible formations to test!

Keep on drifting!

© Marco Frauchiger, the first of the two transform-drifts (Bern, CH) ends in a penguin-formation

Want to know more about drifts? Visit the official Drift Club page or Cultural Protocols.

Originally published at of wastelands