UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE DRONE, 2013
HAUNTING URBAN INTERVENTION BY JAMES BRIDLE
Artwork: "Under the Shadow of the Drone"
Artist: James Bridle
Commissioned and curated by Lighthouse for Brighton Festival 2013.
Part of: HAPPENSTANCE (Residencies for Technologists), Brighton Festival 2013
ABOUT THE WORK
The unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, has become one of the most potent weapons of contemporary warfare. Remotely controlled by operators thousands of miles away, drones carry out aerial attacks which leave hundreds of people dead. They are one of the most controversial weapons of war.
Under the Shadow of the Drone (2013) by James Bridle brought the image of this controversial weapon to the streets of Brighton. It is a life-size depiction of a Reaper drone, used by US and UK forces. The Reaper is used for surveillance and bombing missions, in the declared war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the illegal wars of assassination taking place in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Such wars are made possible by the invisibility of drones to most people.
The stark marking out in an unexpected public space of a Reaper drone’s silhouette brings the reality of these technologies into our daily lives. The work critiques the way that contemporary networked technologies, while enabling the digitally saturated culture of the 21st century, can also obscure and distance us from political and moral responsibility. The project furthers Lighthouse's 2011-2014 curatorial investigations into the invisible infrastructures that make up our world.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
James Bridle is an artist, writer, and publisher based in London, UK. He was a creative technologist in residence at Lighthouse in 2012. His work, including A Ship Adrift commissioned by Artangel, and The Iraq War Historiography, has been shown in galleries and museums internationally and viewed by hundreds of thousands of unique visitors online. Bridle also publishes a regular column, and is a partner at the Really Interesting Group, a design partnership based in East London.
His formulation of the New Aesthetic research project has spurred debate and creative work, online and off, around the world. His work, Dronestagram, which documents the locations of US drone-strikes, has been featured in The Guardian, The Daily Mail, New York Magazine, the New Statesman, and dozens of other publications.
ABOUT THE COMMISSION
Curated and commissioned by Lighthouse, in partnership with Brighton Festival. With support from Arts Council England and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.