©James Bridle

17th Art Division Excellence Award



James BRIDLE [United Kingdom]


Dronestagram reveals otherwise unseen information concerning drone strikes through investigative journalism, digital mapping and social media. The ongoing use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS, or drones) in undeclared wars and assassination programmes has until recently drawn little public attention. In part, this is because of the invisibility not only of the battlefields on which this war takes place – surprising enough in the 21st century – but the invisibility of these technologies themselves and the political processes behind them. Using data sourced from investigative journalists, the Dronestagram project locates these strikes on publicly-available digital satellite maps, and posts images of the landscapes back to various social media including Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, revealing connections and dissonances between surveillance, violence, warfare and network technologies. instagram.com/dronestagram©James

Reason for Award

In this project, the sites hit by drone strikes are sequentially reported via SNS such as Instagram, leaving an impression that is somehow disquieting in the wake of the recent international incidents of classified revelations and leaks. However, its source is merely information already publically available on popular media websites, such as The New York Times, Pakistani newspapers and the BBC, and the aerial photographs are also just images acquired from Google Maps. The peculiar reality and unease thatthis detached reportage simultaneously conveys is due to how it is indicating cool-headedly that the technology from which we reap benefits daily actually hinges on military technology, and naively believing what is being covered up by the media, we are averting our eyes. The work includes various comments left on the website andyou can sense an acerbic presentation of the issues. (GOGOTA Hisanori)