As autonomous flying objects go, drones don’t have the best reputation. Every other day they’re in the headlines for the wrong reasons and their reputation as flying machines of death grows ever more justified. But in addition to being harbingers of a doom-laden future where we shudder to set foot outside our door for fear of being attacked from above, they’re making headway in the art world, too.
Which is good, because they’re not quite so scary when they’re playing the James Bond theme or putting on a light show for Saatchi & Saatchi. And now, the people behind the drones in both those performances, KMel Robotics, have lent their flying robots to another piece, an installation called Long After the Fall. It’s a collaboration with artist Richard Gabriele and it’s debuting tonight at the IMC Lab in New York to kick off the Harbingers and Psychopomps exhibition.
The performance features three drones guarding a golden egg, which sits in an electrical wire nest perched on top of an old tree. These airborne guardians will be filming, and reacting to, the audience with their built-in eye-cameras, the footage of which will be shown on two screens located above the tree, giving a drone’s eye view of the audience.
It doesn’t really do much to alleviate the creepiness that these bots have rightfully accumulated, since they’re basically being used as surveillance devices to spy on these poor people, who are just trying to get a nightly dose of art. But that’s kind of the point, “In this Orwellian application of the latest technology, Richard Gabriele and KMel Robotics have taken an ancient concept and given it a new form that may serve as a relevant translation for the age of mechanization.”
Long After the Fall, 6-8pm, The IMC Lab, 56 West 22nd Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10010