In just a few short years drones have gone from novelty to nuisance, swarming local events and crashing into apartment buildings. But don’t pull out your old Little League bat just yet– drones can also be great tools for filmmakers. As any Casey Neistat fan can tell you, you can get some jaw-dropping shots with even a low-priced model, a smart phone, and some spare time.
Cara Francis sets up her drone for “Remote” (Photo: Nicole Disser)
Drones– amongst the most controversial technology of our time– as weapons, tools, and toys have given us the opportunity to see things through a new pair of eyes. Curators at Knockdown Center spent months recruiting a bunch of artists to utilize drones in relation to art work, however that may be interpreted.Visitors will have a chance to fly the drones themselves through various obstacle course-like installations and engage with them in participatory performance art like Cara Francis’ Remote in which the artist’s drone interrogates then dances with volunteers.
Special performances are scheduled throughout the exhibition’s tenure.
Actually, the future is still a few months away. But get ready anyway coz both of these fests are expected to sell out. Almost any fool with a smartphone and a computer can make a movie nowadays, and as the medium has grown more accessible, communities of niche filmmakers and cinema fans have flourished as well. As to be expected, the rewards for seekers of bizarre and innovative films are endless. While we haven’t yet been able to load cameras onto the Magic School Bus and capture photosynthesis or something, science and tech nerds can still rejoice at the nearly-as-rad achievements at these approaching film fests.
“All the drones were dead and gone by the end,” my friend laughed, filling me in on the last hour of opening night at First Person View, the Knockdown Center’s drone-centric art exhibition. The show lifted off last weekend after months of planning; unfortunately/fortunately, my friend’s account of all the mayhem I’d missed by leaving early wasn’t 100 percent accurate. “The show will go on!” Vanessa Thill, who co-curated the show, assured us. “Crashing is all part of the fun.”
Speaking of drones, at least one tried to go AWOL at Internet Week. It happened when a group of seemingly innocent high schoolers from the Flatiron School programmed a couple of drones to do a special little dance to the theme song from Knight Rider.
The Knockdown Center is accepting submissions for a drone obstacle course to be built this summer (Photo: Nicole Disser)
Call me a hyper-sensitive freak, but when I first heard the buzzing sound of a drone hovering above the smooth concrete floor at Knockdown Center, I got the chills. There’s something deeply ominous about drones, not least of all because they’ve become synonymous with a futuristic, one-sided (for now anyway) kind of warfare that’s shrouded in secrecy. Somewhat evil undeniably, but drones are also fascinating. “I have a drone newsfeed and stuff pops up like every day, probably 10 or 15 different stories ranging from ‘Three People Killed in Pakistan’ to ‘Drone Captures Surfing Dolphin’ or ‘Perverts are Spying on People,'” said Michael Merck, the creative director at Knockdown Center. It’s no wonder, then, that the Queens-based art center has chosen drones as the centerpiece of its summer exhibition.
La Monte Young, the minimalist master whose trailblazing work with droning has influenced everyone from the Velvet Underground to Sonic Youth to Brian Eno, who once called him “the daddy of us all,” made a rare public appearance at Red Bull Studios on Thursday, dropping some tantalizing details about a new Dream House installment coming in June to Dia:Chelsea.
Drones aren’t just for drunk-flying onto the White House lawn. They’re also for getting killer shots of NYC during the snow (Gothamist unearthed the one above) and as the organizer of the first annual New York City Drone Film Festival told us recently, they make for some seriously jaw-dropping cinema. The film fest has now unleashed the list of shorts that will be in competition March 7 at the Directors Guild of America Theater. The fest is sold out, but don’t worry — we’ve found some of the contenders online and have embedded them for your viewing pleasure below. Keep Reading »
The self-declared “graffiti vandal” known for his signature skull icon and for using paint-filled fire extinguishers to throw up giant versions of his ubiquitous KATSU tag is getting his first solo show at The Hole. Keep Reading »
If you caught John Oliver’s recent rant against drone strikes (above) and want to hear a more sober take on the matter, you’ll want to get to Bushwick’s Mayday Space next Thursday, when investigative reporter and war correspondent Jeremy Scahill will celebrate the paperback publication of Dirty Wars, his blistering indictment of the Obama administration’s ever expanding war on terror and its reliance on drones, targeted killings, and covert operations. Keep Reading »