NOSTALGIA is a collaborative film by Drew English, Michael Marantz and Tim Sessler, shot on the RED Epic Dragon Monochrome with the Freefly ALTA drone: freeflysystems.com/products/2015/alta/
Created by Jonathan Fletcher Moore and Fabio Piparo, Artificial Killing Machine is an autonomous mechanical installation that uses the public database on U.S. military drone strikes to visualise deaths of individuals that would otherwise be represented purely as statistical data. When a drone strike occurs, the machine activates, and fires a children’s toy cap gun for every death that results. The raw information used by the installation is then printed. The materialised data is allowed to accumulate in perpetuity or until the life cycle of either the database or machine ends. A single chair is placed beneath the installation inviting the viewers to sit in the chair and experience the imagined existential risk.
This project consists of 15 toy cap guns and servo motors. Motor mounts were fabricated using laser cut acrylic and connected with custom hardware. The motors are driven by a 16-channel servo controller that is connected to a Raspberry Pi micro-controller using I2C serial connection. Three 7.4v lithium ion batteries and DC/DC step down converters deliver three regulated 5v outputs for the printer and controllers.
The control program was written as a web server, and the main logic was written in Python. The development took place in NY, and it is deployed remotely through the git DVCS. The software stack is: nginx, apache, and flask, and all the hardware was interfaced (by/for/with) Adafruit libraries. A publicly available database of U.S. drone strikes is being queried within a set interval of time, and when a new entry has been detected in the database, the motor control functions activate.
The data was collected, vetted, and organized by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism who have documented the U.S. covert drone war since 1999. Josh Begley created an open-source API in 2013 which makes this information available to artists, researchers, and the general public.
An excerpt from an interview done with Noor a while back, and which is part of #TheLastPictures:
“Witnessing a drone hovering over Waziristan skies is a regular thing,” says Noor Behram, who shot this video outside his house in Dande Darpa Khel, North Waziristan.
For more than five years, Behram has been documenting the aftermath of drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas, the hub of the CIA’s remote assassination program. When Behram learns of a strike, he races towards ground zero to photograph the scene. “North Waziristan,” he explained “is a big area scattered over hundreds of miles and some places are harder to reach due to lack of roads and access. At many places I will only be able to reach the scene after 6-8 hours.” Nonetheless, Behram’s photographs are some of the only on-the-ground images of drone attacks.
“[The few places where I have been able to reach right after the attack were a terrible sight” he explains, “One such place was filled with human body parts lying around and a strong smell of burnt human flesh. Poverty and the meagre living standards of inhabitants is another common thing at the attack sites.” Behram’s photographs tell a different story than official American reports that consistently deny civilian casualties from drone attacks: “I have come across some horrendous visions where human body parts would be scattered around without distinction, those of children, women, and elderly.”
For Behram, this video is nothing exceptional. “This was like any other day in Waziristan. Coming out of the house, witnessing a drone in the sky, getting along with our lives till it targets you. That day it was in the morning and I was at my home playing with my children. I spotted the drone and started filming it with my camera and then I followed it a bit on a bike.”
Ryusuke Ito’s work questions to audiences what realty is and what is not, by making us face to the antinomy. He juxtapose the miniature set and its huge image projected on live onto the wall at once; they confuse audiences by blurring the lines between truth and fiction.