Artists

RESPONDING TO THE DRONE IMAGE

Simon Armitage

Poet Simon Armitage brings new perspectives to the Battle of the Somme by responding to the aerial images of the terrain that the battle scarred. Using the rich archive of photographic materials held at the Imperial War Museum in London as a visual stimulus, Armitage creates new narratives to connect the reader to the complexities and horrors of the First World War.

A time will certainly come in these rich vales

When a ploughman slicing open the soil

Will crunch through rusting spears, or strike

A headless iron helmet with his spade,

Or stare, wordless, at the harvest of raw bones

He exhumes from the earth’s unmarked grave.

 

– Extract from ‘Still’, Simon Armitage

James Bridle

Artist James Bridle raises awareness and visibility of drones as an object of control, surveillance and warfare. Drawing chalk outlines of the drone vehicle in public places to highlight that the operation of the drone within lived space, is counter to the premise that drones prompt sight and vision from a distance.

Tomas Van Houtryve

Artist, photographer and author Tomas Van Houtryve, responds to the US government’s programme using drones to carry out airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Critiquing the weaponisation of the photographic medium, his Blue Sky Days creates a visual record of drone war to draw attention to the changing nature of personal privacy, surveillance, and contemporary warfare.

Trevor Paglen

Artist, writer and cultural geographer Trevor Paglen investigates drones as part of the military system and weapons industry, raising questions about state and military networks of control, surveillance and warfare.

Teju Cole

Writer Teju Cole published ‘Seven Short Stories About Drones’ via Twitter. Exploring the materiality of drone warfare through a fictional prompt, the evolving short stories provide a concise commentary on the US government’s drone programme.