Drone @ Summerhall
Drone brings into focus not just the deadly nature of the modern military but the dominating and intrusive side too
The world we live in means death from above from afar. The disconnection between scores of people wiped out in so-called targeted strikes and those pulling the trigger in a bunker thousands of miles away is truly dehumanising. In Drone, the unmanned autonomous vehicle is humanised. 'It' becomes 'she' and she has hopes and dreams. This is a portrayal of pilot and drone as one, bringing together those separated by thousands of miles.
The drone, portrayed through spoken word descriptions of thoughts and feelings by Harry Josephine Giles, talks with a therapist and is told "You have work and love that fulfils you." Giles replies, "All I have is bombs". Visuals projected on a screen are a trippy mix of destruction viewed by satellite and generic surveillance. This brings into focus not just the deadly nature of the modern military but the dominating and intrusive side too.
The audio aspect of Drone is utterly uncomfortable, which is the point. A lot of the music is a sort of mechanical noise which grates and makes it quite difficult to stay fully engaged for an extended period. This does break later on to become slightly more uplifting. This aspect is done differently every time but I imagine the feeling remains largely the same: like you are being tortured.
At the beginning and end of Drone we are presented with a drone of smaller proportions, the kind for personal use that are more and more common. In general, these perhaps make us feel more at ease with the military variety but as this volatile object flown by an unseen pilot is in an enclosed space, we also feel the danger.
Drone, Summerhall (Red Lecture Theatre), until 17 Aug, 7.10pm, £12-14