The devices that once populated the creepy dystopian futures of science fiction have broken through into our daily reality.
Drones of dozens of different types are becoming a part of everyday life. They scout our public (and private) spaces, carrying out surveillance or reconnaissance in the service of nation states and as unmanned robotic tools, armed with missiles and bombs, acting in defence of “national security”.
According to a European commission document drones will be commonplace in the skies within a decade. There are already many companies building these airborne, robotic spies for military and police use and this has “prompted concerns from civil liberties groups, who fear that the unmanned aircraft will result in more forms of surveillance.” 
During the three weeks of Movable Borders: Here Come the Drones! people are invited to view artworks and join a workshop by artists who are contemplating how drones are changing the way we see and relate to each other and the world around us.
Artworks and projects by Bureau of Inverse Technology (US & AU), Lawrence Bird (US), Patrick Lichty (US), Dave Miller & Gavin Stewart (UK), The Force of Freedom (NL) and Dave Young (NL).
Bit Plane by Bureau of Inverse Technology (Natalie Jeremijenko and Kate Rich) is an early artistic reflection on the relation between technology and surveillance and, as such it can be seen as a precursor to the emerging DIY surveillance video enabled by the new availability of drones. The bit plane is a radio-controlled model airplane, designed by the Bureau and equipped with a micro-video camera and transmitter. In 1997 it was launched on a series of sorties over the Silicon Valley to capture an aerial rendering. Guided by the live control-view video feed from
the plane, the pilot on the ground was able to steer the unit deep into the glittering heartlands of the Information Age.
Parallel by Lawrence Bird uses Google Earth to track the 49th parallel, i.e. the prairie border between Canada and the United States. The digital projection invites open interpretations: it is a film about parallel countries; parallel modes of imaging and imagining; parallels between political, technical and visual territories. Obvious digital anomalies in the video, caused by satellite interference, allow for further speculation and imaginative readings.
The Private Life of a Drone by Patrick Lichty is a video travelogue recorded by flying video drones, exploring the area surrounding the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia (US).
Lines by Dave Miller and Gavin Stewart draws on an emergent cultural interest in drones to explore related issues around privacy, mediation, power, security, morality, legality and others in all aspects of contemporary life. Lines aims to encourage and affect public debate.
TELEWAR is a book and video collaboration between Dave Young and The Force Of Freedom collective. The project tries to make some sense of the uses, effects and developments of the new warfare technologies, like military drones, through the analysis of news reports, military drone culture, drone speak and network theory.
Movable Borders – The Reposition Matrix by Dave Young provides the central installation and information resource of the exhibition.
In a post-national age, where “territorial and political boundaries are increasingly permeable”, what has become of the borderline? How is it defined, and what technologies are used to control it?
Movable Borders is an ongoing research project that begins to explore possible answers to these questions through facilitating discussions around the ‘reterritorialisation’ of the borderline in the information age.
The Reposition Matrix aims to reterritorialise the drone as a physical, industrially-produced technology of war through the creation of an open-access database: a ‘reposition matrix’ that geopolitically situates the organisations, locations, and trading networks that play a role in the production of military drone technologies.
Lawrence Bird is a designer, instructor and writer with an interest in cities and their image. He has trained in architecture (B.Arch), social sciences and urban design (MSc), and history and theory of architecture (PhD). He has recently completed the SSHRC-funded postdoctoral project Beyond the Desert of the Real, based in Winnipeg, Canada. The project focused on desolate urban sites, elicited visual narratives from city residents and graduate students of architecture in response to them, experimented with representations of the city based on these narratives, and used these strategies as points of departure for urban design and urban landscape proposals. Lawrence also makes films, and is currently developing a hybrid film and animation project WPG_POV.
Bureau of Inverse Technology
The Bureau of Inverse Technology (aka BIT) is an organisation of artist-engineers whose stated aim is to be an information agency servicing the “Information Age”. Bureau engineers are involved from design to deployment and documentation of radical products based on commercially available electronic entertainment components such as cameras, radios, networks, robots, sensors, etc. Though its work has long been publicly available, the composition of the Bureau itself is shrouded in some mystery, for some years cloaking its identity in anonymity. In 2004 the Bureau initiated a “retreat from anonymity” when radio journalist and BIT co-founder Kate Rich took up a three month Research Fellowship at Piet Zwart Institute for Media Design Research, Rotterdam in 2004. Current Bureau products include BIT Radio, Feral Robotic Dogs and the Despondency Index.
is a technologically-based conceptual artist, writer, independent curator, animator for the activist group The Yes Men, and Executive Editor of Intelligent Agent Magazine. He began showing technological media art in 1989, and deals with works and writing that explore the social relations between us and media. Venues in which Lichty has been involved with solo and collaborative works include the Whitney & Turin Biennials, Maribor Triennial, Performa Performance Biennial, Ars Electronica, and the International Symposium on the Electronic Arts (ISEA). Patrick also works extensively with virtual worlds, including Second Life, and his work, both solo and with his performance art group Second Front, has been featured in Flash Art, Eikon Milan and ArtNews. He is also an Assistant Professor of Interactive Arts & Media at Columbia College Chicago, and resides in Baton Rouge, LA.
Dave Miller is a South London based artist and currently a Research Fellow in Augmented Reality at the University of Bedfordshire. Through his art practice Dave draws out the invisible forces that make life difficult. His work is about caring and being angry as an artist. His art enables him to express feelings about the world, to attempt to explain things in a meaningful, yet subjective way, and make complex information accessible. Recurrent themes in his work are: human stories, injustices, contentious issues and campaigning. Recently he has been very bothered by the financial crisis.
Gavin Stewart is Lecturer in Digital Media at the University of Bedfordshire, poet and writer. He is the current convener of the Interactive Media Group. His research interests are the aesthetics of digital texts and the impact of corporate digital media on our understanding of community. Gavin is course leader in BA Media Production and currently teaches units in Media and Cyberculture and Print, Culture and Technology at MA Level. Gavin is is also the co-organiser of the Playful Paradox mini-festival, the End of Journalism conference and the Under the Mask: Perspective on the Gamer conference series.
The Force Of Freedom
The Force Of Freedom is a Rotterdam based collective founded by Micha Prinsen and Roel Roscam Abbing in 2009. In their work they react critically but playfully to new emerging technologies and developments on the internet.
Dave Young is an artist, musician and researcher currently studying the Networked Media course at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam (NL). His research deals with the Cold War history of networked culture, exploring the emergence of cybernetic theory as an ideology of the information age and the influence of military technologies on popular culture.
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Furtherfield Gallery is supported by Haringey Council and Arts Council England.