featuring Tomas Van Houtryve
March 12 – April 30, 2015
East Wing Gallery
Surveillance.02, an exhibition of interdisciplinary artists whose practice incorporates camera, satellite, and drone to critique corporate and state surveillance, and energy production. Fueled by anxiety, anger, and humor, these artists document the various consequences of surveillance, and remix their findings as commentary. The featured works challenge the fluid notion of privacy, expose humanity’s permanent impact on the environment, and point to the major tangles at the center of it all: individual vs. type, convenience vs. security.
The presented works are Blue Sky Days by Tomas Van Houtryve, Hidden Wounds by Massimo Berruti, Shtik Fleisch Mit Tzvei Eigen by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann’d by Edmund Clark, Deposit by Yann Mingard, Land Marks by Jenny Odell, and World Brain by Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon.. . .
About Blue Sky Days:
In October 2012, a drone strike in northeast Pakistan killed a 67-year-old woman picking okra outside her house. At a briefing held in 2013 in Washington, DC, the woman’s 13-year-old grandson, Zubair Rehman, spoke to a group of five lawmakers. “I no longer love blue skies,” said Rehman, who was injured by shrapnel in the attack. “In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray.”
Over the past decade, drones have become the preferred weapon of the United States military and the CIA for strikes overseas. Their use for surveillance and commercial purposes is also rapidly expanding at home and abroad.
Tomas van Houtryve attached his camera to a small drone and travelled across America to photograph the very sorts of gatherings that have become habitual targets for foreign air strikes—weddings, funerals, groups of people praying or exercising. He also flew his camera over settings in which drones are used to less lethal effect, such as prisons, oil fields, industrial feedlots, and stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border. The images captured from the drone’s perspective engage with the changing nature of war, privacy, and government transparency.