Nancy Buchanan: Operation Empathy

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Artist Statement:

    Operation Empathy is a silent video simulating the experience of a drone following a passenger vehicle. Especially for US citizens, this notion would seem to be completely unimaginable. Yet, our country, in the guise of fighting terrorism, has killed hundreds of innocent civilians on their way to weddings, civilian meetings, etc. This video was originally part of a durational performance ‘It’s Your Party’ that examined the phenomenon of targeted killings in Middle Eastern countries. ‘It’s Your Party’ was an immersive meditation about the people and places that US drones are bombing in the Middle East. I organized this as a collaboration with Arshia Haq, Stephanie Allespach, Amy Alexander, and Marjan Vayghan. Presented at UC Irvine on Nov. 3, 2016, the two-hour event surrounded the audience with sound (mixed by Arshia Haq), while they were free to wander and explore video, both projected and on monitors, consume tea and have conversations largely drawn from news about the wars. Excerpts from my year long research of our country’s drone warfare were printed on origami papers folded into cranes or planes and given to guests, invited to write pre-addressed postcards to elected officials.

    Drone footage shot by Brad Hughes, Emergent Media & Design, Schools of Biological Sciences, Arts and Education, University of California, Irvine.



Nancy Buchanan – Operation Empathy from ACM SIGGRAPH on Vimeo.

Other Information:

    Drone Footage and Surveillance