STEALTH DRONES (2019)

Installation by Anne Niemetz

Embroidery patterns created with the CatsEye software
by Ben Jack and Doug Easterly, using original
multicopter technical designs by Hadley Boks-Wilson
Thank you: Victoria University of Wellington

Drones have entered the public consciousness over the past decade and are most commonly associated with surveillance and military action. Recently, technology has rapidly advanced with drones increasingly being designed to be hidden from radar by mimicking the appearance and behaviour of wildlife. Even drones used by hobbyists frequently raise ethical issues regarding privacy. The installation, Stealth Drones, asks the viewer to reflect on these technological developments and to consider the clandestine possibilities of drone technology.

Stealth Drones is comprised of seven embroidery hoops hung in formation. Each hoop contains fractal patterns and ornamentation embroidered in white thread. The hoops are presented on a black velvet backdrop, much like the display of traditional lace work.

 

At regular intervals UV lights are activated in the exhibition space. The embroideries react to the UV light by revealing technical blueprints of small multicopters within them. Once the regular room lights switch back on, the stealth drones disappear.

Through the act of appearing/disappearing the juxtaposition of embroidery (traditionally associated with femininity) and contemporary engineering and artificial intelligence (typically coded as masculine) comes forth. This prompts the viewer to consider the gendering of new technologies as well as associated discourses of expertise and technological progress.

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