Chandler returns to these histories to explore how unmanning is enacted. Early drone aircraft resist the narrative that the systems are a recent technical innovation underwritten by the War on Terror. Rather, the crashes suggest that the supposed technicity of drone aircraft ties to political contexts and is underwritten by human action and interpretation. Chandler explores the drone’s dysfunction as a means to study the violence made possible by their networked human, media, and machine parts. Error underscores that the ethical challenges of drone aircraft is not simply that they are dehumanizing. Rather, they produce flawed and partial ways of seeing and acting that are conceived politically and legally as total. Looking back to the moments when these views failed spectacularly, she considers how errans can be a way to counter the obduracy of a dronelike worldview and the politics it imbricates.
Katherine Chandler earned her PhD in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently an assistant professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University in the Culture and Politics Program. She was artist-in-residence at The Case for Space at ‘Provisions: Art for Social Change’, George Mason University in 2013 and The Decapitated Museum at Banff Centre for the Arts in 2012. She is currently working on two book projects The Technopolitics of Unmanning: How Humans, Machines and Media Assemble Drone Warfare and Drone Publics. Her articles, essays, and photographs have been published by Catalyst, Humanity, and qui parle. She contributed to the recent anthology Life in the Age of Drone Warfare (2017).
From Source to Poem, 2016
35mm film, colour, optical sound, 12’
From Source to Poem shifts focus from artworks (in her previous works on museum storages) into archival storage. Shot at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress in Culpeper, Virginia, and at an enormous solar power plant in California, it juxtaposes images from the world’s largest media archive with a study of rhythm and images of cultural and industrial production. Like the temporal property of two things happening at the same time, “the interval determining the coincidence gate is adjustable.” The film exposes the preservation of cultural outputs, but also their digitisation for the future. A vast number of the archives’ holdings is sound material (audio recordings, wax discs, vinyl and LPs); a sonic memory that Barba rescues and mixes in the soundtrack as a way of setting in motion otherwise unlikely dialogues.
Rosa Barba is an artist interested in film and the ways in which it articulates space. Composition, physicality of form, and plasticity are important aspects of this articulation, but Barba also interrogates the industry of cinema with respect to various forms of mise-en-scène by taking them out of their contexts and restaging them. Her solo exhibitions include: Tate Modern, London (2010); MAXXI, Rome (2014); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge MA (2015); CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2016); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, and Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2017). Group and large-scale exhibitions include: the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2016), and the 53rd and 56th Venice Biennale (2009 and 2015). From Source to Poem is the latest monograph on her work (Hatje Cantz, HangarBicocca, and Malmö Konsthall, 2017).
The Embassy, 2011
HD, colour, sound, 27′
(Directed, produced, photography and editing by Filipa César; written by Armando Lona and Filipa César; performed and narrated by Armando Lona; sound by Nuno da Luz; director’s Assistants: Jorge Biague and Philip Metz; supported by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin)
This film deals with the codes of representation used by the former Portuguese colonial administration in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau, and with modes of memory production. It shows a photo album depicting the perspective of the Portuguese colonist, who photographed landscapes, people, architecture, and monuments in Guinea-Bissau in the 1940s and 1950s, with documentary diligence and the implied violence of objectivation. Intersected by gestures of re-animation, this photo display – handled, flipped through, and re-framed by the hands of the Guinean archivist Armando Lona – is the point of departure for a critical, multi-layered narrative on the common past of these two countries.
Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in fictional aspects of the documentary, the porous borders between cinema and its reception, and the politics and poetics inherent in the moving image. Since 2011, she has been looking into the origins of the cinema of the African Liberation Movement in Guinea-Bissau as a laboratory of resistance to ruling epistemologies. César premiered her first feature length essay-film Spell Reel at the Forum section of the 67th Berlinale (2017). Selected exhibitions and screenings have taken place at: 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010); Manifesta 8, Cartagena (2010); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2011–2015); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2012); Khiasma, Paris, (2011–2015); Kunstwerke, Berlin (2013); SAAVY Contemporary, Berlin (2014–2015); Tensta konsthall, Spånga (2015); Mumok, Vienna (2016); Contour 8 Biennial, Mechelen, Gasworks, London, and MoMA, New York (2017).