Drifting and cruising

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How might the Situationist International's concept of the derive, or drift, be brought into valuable interaction with the activity of cruising? Whilst recognising significant distinctions between these two urban practices, this essay also explores points of connection between them. It does so through a consideration of the biopic 'Tom of Finland' (Dome Karukoski, 2017), alongside a number of images produced by Tom throughout his career as an illustrator of homoerotic imagery. The optimal conditions for cruising and carrying out a derive are outlined; the relations of each to visuality are examined. The aims and objectives of cruising and deriving are compared, including considerations of the sexual currents at work in each practice, and their value as data-gathering activities. Finally, the temporalities of cruising and deriving are discussed, including the role of waiting and boredom in both, and the challenges they present to normative organisations of the day. Drawing Leo Charney's ideas about drift into the conversation, the essay ultimately argues for the epistemological and ontological value of deriving and cruising.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
Number of pages7
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019


  • Cruising
  • Drifting
  • Tom of Finland
  • Situationist International
  • Situationism
  • Queer culture
  • Queer politics


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