James Bridle

Posting the landscapes of drone strikes to Instagram: Follow Dronestagram (also on Tumblr and Twitter).

Dronestagram, 2012—Ongoing. James Bridle. Social media accounts, digital images. Dimensions variable

« Wadi al Abu Jabara. Beit al Ahan. Jaar. Dhamar. Al-Saeed. Tappi. Bulandkhel. Hurmuz. Khaider khel.

These are the names of places. They are towns, villages, junctions and roads. They are the names of places where people live and work, where there are families and schools. They are the names of places in Afghanistan and Yemen, which are linked by one thing: they have each been the location of drone strikes in the past couple of months. (The latest was in the early hours of November 7th, the night of the US election.)

They are the names of places most of us will never see. We do not know these landscapes and we cannot visit them.

What can reach them are drones, what can see them—if not entirely know them—are drones. At anywhere between five and fifty thousand feet, the drones are impervious to the weapons of the people below them, and all-seeing across the landscape. Drones are just the latest in a long line of military technologies augmenting the process of death-dealing, but they are among the most efficient, the most distancing, the most invisible. These qualities allow them to do what they do unseen, and create the context for secret, unaccountable, endless wars. Whether you think these killings are immoral or not, most of them are by any international standard illegal.

For a few weeks now, I have been posting images of the locations of drone strikes to the photo-sharing site Instagram as they occur (there’s more on the methodology below). Making these locations just a little bit more visible, a little closer. A little more real. »

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