Lighthouse presents James Bridle's Under the Shadow of the Drone for the Brighton Festival

By Laurence Townsend | 03 May 2013

Exhibition preview: Under the Shadow of the Drone, Lighthouse, Brighton, May 4-26 2013

A photo of a shadow of a plane over a city street
© James Bridle / Lighthouse
Brighton will be able to glimpse one of the most invisible weapons of the war on terror – as it is recognised by so many in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen – by its distinctive shadow.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been the subject of international controversy since they were first used for targeted killings.

Recent estimates claim US-deployed drones have killed as many as 4,000 people, with hundreds of the casualties being civilian.

Artist James Bridle is behind the upcoming large-scale representation of the silhouette of a Reaper drone, which will be positioned five minutes’ walk east from the Brighton Wheel.

The London-based columnist for The Observer has looked in detail at drone use in his recent work. His new project aims to bring that to an audience in their own city. “We all live under the shadow of the drone,” he says, “although most of us are lucky enough not to live under its direct fire.”

Two other such full-scale drone shadows were drawn in both London and Istanbul last year in silhouettes of the MQ-1 Predator UAV used by both the UK and US militaries.

In an attempt to encourage people to think more about a destructive, remotely-controlled activity happening thousands of miles away, his recent Dronestagram project used the internet to post photos of locations where US drone strikes had occurred.

He has stressed that of all the military technologies, drones are “among the most efficient, the most distancing, the most invisible. These qualities allow them to do what they do unseen.”

Although Dronestagram revealed the wake of devastation the attacks leave behind, Under the Shadow of the Drone – together with The Air Itself is One Vast Library, an exhibition by contemporary artist Mariele Neudecker at the city's Regency Town House – aim to explore the disturbing and often invisible nature of various technologies used in modern warfare.  

Both projects are commissioned by the digital culture agency Lighthouse and the Brighton Festival.

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