The Snowden revelations and a male-dominated art and tech community were reasons enough for artist Addie Wagenknecht to form the all-female collective Deep Lab in November 2014, but issues of anonymity, privacy, and surveillance had been on her mind for several years before the NSA leaks.
This interest came out of taking notice of the infrastructure of surveillance. The first instance of this was a growing awareness of the prevalence of CCTV cameras around New York City around 2007 and 2008; she began mapping camera locations and finding routes between them. Since then, she has been making work about the number of ways this infrastructure takes shape.
Drone paintings exemplify this practice, as Wagenknecht makes visible the traces of machines that have a tendency to fly above our radar. While she developed the process of drone paintings and has been making paintings with this method since 2007—with pieces including Foundation Mathematics as Concept Art, (2015); Everything and Nothing was Beautiful (2014); and the series Black Hawk Paint (2008)—for this iteration, she employed the practice as a collaborative live performance for the first time. This was realized with fellow Deep Lab members Lindsay Howard and Maddy Varner, with technical contributions from NEW INC member Dan Moore and Becky Stern of Adafruit, and supported by 3D Robotics.
In preparation for the performance, Wagenknecht, Moore, and Stern experimented with different techniques for distributing the paint with a drone. Stern’s Adafruit tutorial for a Quadcopter Spray Can Mod (for sanctioned UAV painting) outlines one of these experiments, with materials needed and observations about how you can build versions of the copter. You can see the overview in its entirety here.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com