Drone Media Art?

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To explore the field of drones/quadcopters historical timeline, military usage of these devices would first have to be taken into account. Their surveillance and autonomous nature as well as the unmanned aspect made them appealing to “spy” on an enemy. Their commercialisation and furthermore “aesthetic” potential only came about in the last decade. Their cinematography capabilities meant they could capture steady visuals of subjects in a bird’s eye view fashion.

Previously this would have been done with an aircraft and some form of SLR camera, now they creative can pilot these devices for the shot.

The first aerial photograph was taken in 1858 by Felix Tournachon, known as Nadar, from a tethered balloon over the Bievre Valley in France (M, Cellania 2007)


Furthermore cameras were attached to various floating vessels such as hot air balloons, kites and remarkably even strapping a small camera with a timed fuse to a pigeon and sending it to the air. Aeroplanes came into the field in 1908 and after this practice, aviation photography boomed for applications such as science, mapping, and military reconnaissance. The photo and video aspects from the air define the commercial aspect of today’s off the shelf drones, their image resolution and steady gimbal design means that professional shots can be taken by amateur filmmakers and photographers.

Recently, the aesthetic of the images the drone can take aren’t the only art works being created with the devices. The physical presence of the device and wonderments associated to flight, hover and autonomous features are being taken into a new possibility. Visually spectualr light shows, LED attachment, long exposure and synced routines to name a few, such as:



Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 7.38.38 pm.png

These inspiration shots are the types of emerging media art works and installation that is the beginnings of the field I want to investigate. The physical device is now the canvas and whether it’s attachments, or their hovering characteristics to be the subject, the camera is sometimes not even used.

An emerging technology, the practice in media art hasn’t got a great line of historical works, however it can be associated with the following:



Aerial imagery

Remote control

Radio signal

Autonomous art

Inanimate objects

Surveillance/ satellite 

These topics are what historically go into the art practise we experience above and it’s a starting mindmap to lead into a practise of applying a field of technology to areas that perhaps wouldn’t initially associate.



Perhaps this exploration will draw some inspiration I had way back in first year when trying to compose a practise for 102, seen here.

Link to Aerial Photography





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