DETROIT: October 11th - November 24, 2013
Exhibition Opening & Reception: Friday, October 11th, 6:00pm - 11:00pm
Closing: Sunday, November 24th, 6:00pm
ANN ARBOR: January 3rd - February 16th, 2014
Exhibition Opening & Reception: Friday, January 10th, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Closing: Sunday, February 16th, 4:00pm
Curated by Rocco DePietro and Gloria Pritschet
Drones are the quintessential object of the 21st century. They are revolutionizing global warfare and domestic and foreign surveillance, galvanizing the creative impulse, and challenging democratic principles and personal values around the globe. Just as the automobile, airplane and computer, irrevocably changed life and business in the 20th century, drones are changing the way we work, play, battle, and live in the 21st century.
By definition, a drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle. Its flight is controlled by either autonomous on- board computers or by remote control from the ground. The burgeoning variety of drone shapes, sizes, configurations and capabilities, expresses the limitless imagination and quickly developing skill of designers and users. Historically, UAV’s were simple remotely piloted aircraft. Autonomous control was developed, redesigned, and enhanced with many more uses and ever-increasing sophistication. Currently, Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), insect and bird-size drones, fly, perch, hover, and crawl as part of their surveillance capabilities. Drone swarms and drone armies, which might seem straight out of the Terminator movies, are being designed and developed. There are experimental hummingbird surveillance drones the size of quarters and predator drones that are 68 feet long.
Drones are being used for both military and non-military applications. Modern warfare is no longer waged only by foot soldiers with artillery and air support, but by remotely controlled and autonomous drones equipped to recognize, assess, and eliminate targets anywhere in the world. Civil applications include monitoring oil pipelines and water levels, mapping archeological digs and pollution, fighting fires, filming action sports, tracking migrating wildlife and poachers, searching for the missing and fugitives, air dropping supplies, and surveying devastation from natural disasters. Drones are preferred for missions that are too "dull, dirty, or dangerous" for manned aircraft.
Fueling the rapid growth of drone technologies are American individualism, creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit. Technological advances in fields such as remote sensing, robotics, miniaturization, global positioning, fuel cells, and avionics have transformed and accelerated growth. Not surprisingly, much of this growth is experimental, secretive, and unregulated. Greed for wealth and power is also driving the pace and direction of drone applications. Drones are being sold to the highest bidders without consideration of potential consequences. Future drone uses and users are still largely unknown. At this point, societal and political implications of drone technologies are an afterthought.
In this exhibit, artists will explore drones from various perspectives including their current and future designs, capabilities, applications, and likely societal impacts and consequences. They will present concepts both real and imagined for current and future applications. They will also examine the context and environment of drone development including the developers, users, and in some cases, victims, of these technologies.