The Drone Project - A Participatory Memorial Favorite 

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Apr 6 2014

Media artist Joseph DeLappe announces the completion of “The Drone Project: A Participatory Memorial” on the campus of Fresno State University in California.

DeLappe worked for 2+ weeks on campus with over 100 students, interns and local volunteers to construct a full-to-scale reproduction of a MQ1 Predator drone. The resulting sculpture has a 48-foot wingspan and 27-foot long fuselage - the drone has been installed as if it crash-landed on the site. The work is a participatory memorial that resulted in a final, performative event held on April 6th. The names of 334 known civilian Pakistani drone casualties from the North Waziristan region were read aloud. Those in attendance were provided pens and invited to write the names on the surface of the drone. These were written in English and translated by volunteers into Urdu. Where available, the date of death and age of the victim where included.

Over the past decade+ of war, American military and intelligence services have enthusiastically embraced the use of armed, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as weapons of choice against Al Qaeda. Drones have been used extensively in the Iraq war, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is estimated that between 2004 and 2013, 365 CIA operated drone strikes in Pakistan killed between 2,536-3,577 people. Of these, it is estimated that 411-884 civilians and 168-197 children have been killed.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism provided the names written on the drone sculpture through their “Naming the Dead” project.

The sculpture was created using a digital 3D file that was processed using the software Pepakura Designer and adapted for large-scale construction using low-res polygons for yellow corrugated plastic. The work remains installed on the Fresno State University campus through May 31st, 2014. The Drone Project – A Participatory Memorial was commissioned by the Center for Creativity and the Arts at Fresno State University.

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