Drones have found their way into my art production. The same has happened to other artists. The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College http://dronecenter.bard.edu presents several artists who use drones in politically tinged art or in artistic explorations of new technology.
Superflux Lab a design practice based in London and Ahmedabad, “examines the ways emerging technologies integrate with our environment and everyday life.” Their video “Drone Aviary” www.superflux.in/blog/the-drone-aviary “explores the impact of private drones within our public realm and how they will affect our urban experience.” Equally entertaining and disturbing, this video reinforced my fascination with drones. Featuring video footage taken by drones of individuals and groups on public streets, with the addition of face mapping to identify reactions to the drones overhead, and the pinpointing of their geographical locations was alarmingly fascinating. Moving vectors and pop-up data overwrite the scenes giving an eerie quality to the video and making regular everyday movements seem suspect.
Two quotations from the video are “you think you are a consumer but you have been consumed” and Paul Virilio’s “what will we dream of when everything becomes visible? We’ll dream of being blind.”
Artist, Addie Wagenknecht, uses drones as paint brushes. “Black Hawk Powder Paintings,” her series created by tiny drones that take off, land and barrel roll into loose pigment create cloud like areas of color on long pieces of paper, essentially making abstract paintings. Human hands only touch the remote controls of the drone.
The Center for the Study of Drones interviewed Wagenknecht asking if she has an articulated position on drones. She stated, “surveillance and tools of war are something that the government and people in power use for control.” Why drones? “Because they are tools of power. You see First world and Western world countries using them in places where the enemy doesn’t necessarily have an equal way to fight back.” Her answer helps me formulate my own.
The artist James Bridle makes “Drone Shadows.” His 1:1scale painted outlines of US military drones are painted on sidewalks and parking lots in UK, as well as, in Washington, DC. He also publishes “Dronestagram” which documents satellite images of the locations of US drone strikes.