'Drone' demonstrates the uncanny ability of simulations to mimic reality. An innocent flight simulator descends into a violent military drone simulator.
Created using imagery from Youtube uploads of drone missile strikes, simulated representations of these from popular video games, as well as imagery created by the artist. Drone asks the viewer to define the difference between simulation and reality, and the issues that arise when the two are so closely entwined? What does it mean when the difference of killing within a simulation and reality is indiscernible? Especially since many drone pilots are suffering from post traumatic stress, despite experiencing warfare through the mediation of screen, a thousand miles away. The power and effect of the experience appearing unaltered by this viewed detachment, begs questions of what is possible through the screen.
Equally, is it correct for footage of missile and drone attacks to be so readily available, uploaded to Youtube by the USA Army as well as other sources, like a blogger updating their feed? This ease of availability to find footage, many which clearly depict the killing of unaware targets, poses striking questions regarding censoring, that nudity is taken down or marked quickly, while the killing of people is left unaddressed for years. This combined with the overt militarism displayed within many video games today provokes pressing questions regarding our depiction and consumption of military conflict as well the power of the screen to influence and effect.
'Drone' was shown in the exhibition Stealth at Vivid Projects, Birmingham, UK. STEALTH presents recent work by UK and international artists critiquing surveillance culture and the invasive and pervasive technologies that shape our daily interactions. Utilising a variety of media including installations, video, social media and software, the exhibition explores how technology affects and disrupts our perceptions of privacy. Artists include Henry Driver(UK), James Bridle (UK), Joseph Delappe(US), Ryan Hughes(UK), Manu Luksch(AT/UK), Sang Mun (US) STEALTH launches Thursday 25 June and continues to Saturday 11 July 2015. 'Drone' was also shortlisted for the international CHANNELS & FACT 2015 Award.