James Bridle exposes 'drone shadows' over Washington, D.C.
Whether they are dropping bombs in the Middle East, delivering pizza in California, or doing surveillance over our nation’s capital, it is beginning to feel like there is no escaping from under the watchful eye of a drone.
The latest spotting- an outline of a life-size drone sprawled on the sidewalk outside the Corcoran in Washington, D.C., just blocks from the White House. And for once, the US Military or CIA isn’t responsible. “Drone Shadow 004” is the brainchild of James Bridle, an artist whose exhibition entitled “A Quiet Disposition” opened last month at the Corcoran Gallery.
In his exhibit, Bridle presents five research-based projects that use publicly accessible mediums such as Instagram and Google Earth to address the increasingly relevant topic of surveillance and weaponized drones. Prints, computer installations, a “drone identification kit,” and the “drone shadow” outside the museum urge the viewer to question their complicity in and acceptance of the widespread use of drone technology.
These works are no doubt meant to provoke. In his press release, he writes “The issues addressed in this exhibition are of pressing concern to me, and hopefully to others, both in their examination of contemporary warfare but also their wider implications for society’s relationship to technology.”
Bridle explores these increasing interdependencies more deeply in a concept he coined in 2011, called “The New Aesthetic.” By playing with the visual shorthand of our glitch and pixelated world, he makes the presence of technology, and its purpose, visible right at those moments when they are dangerously being taken for granted.
And we have arrived at one of those moments. Hovering over us are the serious implications of privacy and surveillance, the blurring between “the real” and “the digital”, the physical and the virtual, the human and the machine. Bridle’s “A Quiet Disposition” makes the blurry line between cyber intelligence and human consequence palpable, exposing the truth and beauty of what is most terrifying in our age.
Bridle’s “drone shadows” have been displayed in several other cities around the world, including Istanbul, London, and Brighton.