Game of Drones.
Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

07.06.2019 – 03.11.2019

Drone technology is marked by ambivalent utilisation. Drones are used in surveillance applications, transport, photography and agriculture. In combination with artificial intelligence, they are deemed to be the most important military technological innovation since the invention of the nuclear bomb. But toy drones are also enjoying success in the mass market: In 2017, about 400,000 unmanned flying objects were in operation in Germany alone.

"As the first museum in Germany, we are taking a transdisciplinary look at the subject of drones. As a museum for technology and art, it was almost inevitable that we would have a look at this subject from a number of different perspectives." Dr. Claudia Emmert, Director of the Zeppelin Museum.

In the big summer exhibition in the Zeppelin Museum, both the technical development and the various utilisations are examined. Eleven internationally renowned artists occupy themselves with ethical questions that need to be addressed especially against the background of economic and military interests.

"This technology unites absolute opposites, which is why it offers numerous opportunities for engagement from an artistic perspective. The artists in the exhibition show the contradictions of a technology in all their facets: From a surveillance apparatus to instrument of the resistance, from an animistically inspired object to the use of drones in strategic warfare." Ina Neddermeyer, Head of the Arts Department and curator of the exhibition.

Given technologies that can observe and remain invisible at the same time, a central focus of the exhibits lies in pulling the drones back into the realm of the visible. The event focuses on the eight topic areas of animism, protest, feminist perspectives, surveillance/ counter-surveillance, military conflict, artificial intelligence, the museum's own "Claire" drone and Drone Shadow as it used in the field. The drones' outlines are reconstructed and explained in technical detail, true to scale, in public – in addition, aspects of animism and demystifying technology are reflected: the drone as a conscious agent and an object inhibited by a soul. Frequently characterised as "masculine technology", feminist positions increasingly focus on the object/subject status of the drones. The large space already occupied by drone technologies becomes increasingly significant, including how it will have a decisive influence on our future when combined with artificial intelligence.

The exhibits range from kites to multicopters for civil and military applications to targeting, combat and recon drones. How do indigenous people use drones for resistance, what does anti-drone gear look like, what turns a drone into a spiritual being and how does a drone use AI? It becomes evident that our every-day life increasingly depends on automated machines and is being monitored by unmanned aircraft.

"The drones on display are used for both civil and military applications. There is, for example, a targeting drone as it is currently used in the German Federal Armed Forces for training purposes. On the media side, the exhibition also focuses on future development trends and casts a look at the past, because unmanned flying objects and drones have been around for much longer than is generally assumed: as far back as 1849, during the siege of Venice, Austria used unmanned balloons with self-triggering bombs."
Jürgen Bleibler, Head of the Zeppelin Department and curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition features an extensive support programme: open creative workshops (#droneityourself #dronemeup #antidroneclothing #antidronemakeup), presentations, screenings and an interdisciplinary conference examining the subject from different perspectives. A booklet will accompany the exhibition.  

Participating artists: Ignacio Acosta, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Anohni, Frédérick A. Belzile, James Bridle, Gonçalo F. Cardoso & Ruben Pater, Omer Fast, Adam Harvey, Lawrence Lek, Martha Rosler, Raphaela Vogel



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