top of page
  • Writer's pictureXuyao

Inspiration of Situationist Dérive and Détournement

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

Dérive (or 'drift') Debord described that, "a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances, involve playful constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll." (Debord , 1956) On a dérive, one should abandon oneself to explore urban space with emotion and perception. But it is more than just strolling, it combines both chance and purpose. According to Debord, "chance is a less important factor in this activity than one might think: from a dérive point of view cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones." He also provides a practical suggestion that the derive should be conducted in small groups of two or three people and the average duration is one day, but could also last for a few hours, or several days, depending on whether the goal is achieved or feel lost in the unfamiliar environment.

Debord, G. Jorn, A (1957) The Naked City. Lithograph on paper. 33.3 x 48.3cm.

Détournement (or 'diversion') It's a method of exploiting and recreating. Debord believed any elements, no matter where they come from and what original contexts they are, can be brought together creating new and unexpected meanings of a synthetic object, just like Duchamp created a new artwork by adding a mustache on the painting of Mona Lisa.


Debord, G. (1956) ‘Theory of the Derive’. [Online]. Available at:

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page