Epsom professor launches drone at London gallery
As the UN launches an inquiry into US un-manned drones, a professor is preparing to launch a computer-generated drone targeted at New York and London.
George Barber, professor of art and media at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in Epsom, has created the drone for an experimental film called The Freestone Drone.
The UN announced yesterday, January 24, that it is launching an inquiry into the impact on civilians of drone strikes after figures suggesting that almost 900 had been killed by them in Pakistan over the past nine years.
Prof Barber said he wanted to explore "the existence of drones from an artist's point of view" through his film which follows his virtual drone from Afghanistan to the western capital cities.
He said: "Unmanned aerial vehicles - drones - have become an everyday feature of contemporary military activity, replacing humans in reconnaissance flights, small-scale combat missions and covert operations.
"The idea has fascinated me for a while, especially the way it’s promoted as clean and risk free, which is often not the case.
"People are being taken out while eating lunch or lying in bed and that is disturbing to me because the victim has no chance it's like being poisoned.
"Also, the pilots are based thousands of miles away in rooms that look like TV stations, where they eat, laugh, work and then jump into their cars and go home to their dinner - it's a very strange image of a warrior - one who faces no danger whatsoever."
Prof Barber rose to prominence in the 1980s as a pioneer of the scratch video movement, with works like Yes Frank No Smoke in 1985, which sampled clips from Hollywood films using the untried sampling technology of the day.
His latest project, which consists of three video projections, brings together war, love, life and death. The drone can travel through time and see images of the past and future.
Prof Barber added: "I believe this new form of remote IT warfare needed an artist to contribute to the arrival and effects of drones."
The Freestone Drone will be on display at the Waterside Contemporary in Hoxton, London, from February 2 to March 23.