Last Updated on 08/05/2014 by Michelle Rae Uy
All photographs taken by IOCOSE. Used with permission.
We live in a world where selfies are, much like trolls, just a part of our everyday cyber life, as reluctantly as we might accept it. These vanity self-portraits are so rampant, in fact, that it can now actually be considered an addiction that can affect people, especially those with already existing disorders.
But while selfies are now notoriously one of the top evils of society, it isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. Just like with a lot of things in this world, with the right talents and the right mind-blowing concept, it can be turned into something good, perhaps something ridiculously awesome.
Case in point is Europe-based art collective IOCOSE’s project, Drone Selfies, which is essentially what the title suggests – a series of selfies drones took of themselves. Initially, it might sound like an absurd idea, but seeing as the concept behind it is about parallel utopian world where war is nothing but history from a long-gone past, you’ll want to take a closer look.
We were so impressed with the series that we took time to chat with IOCOSE about this incredible project, among other things. Read their interview and see more photos from the series after the jump.
Phoblographer: Tell us about your awesome series, Drone Selfies, and how did this concept come about?
IOCOSE: Drone Selfies, as the title may suggest, is a photographic series centred on drones taking selfies of themselves. We imagined an alternative present where war and terror are completely over, and drones – once surveillance devices par excellence – are deprived of their main reason to be and point their built-in cameras to mirrors in an act of vanity.
Drones have so much hype these days, and we believe this is no coincidence. We are in that phase where a piece of war technology is being made more ‘acceptable’ by society, through its commercialisation and gamification. This isn’t anything new. The art world, and the geek community seem to play along with this, and in the last few months we saw a series of projects celebrating drones and all the amazing things we are supposed to do with them. But all these projects seem to be centred around a very instrumental perspective of drones: they’ll deliver our pizza, or help us make awesome video shots. We wanted to investigate the ‘creative potential’ of drones (or lack of), what their ‘life’ would be if war and terror were over? Of course, there is a certain level of irony in the whole operation: we’re not able to imagine ourselves in times of peace, let alone drones. Therefore drones, when liberated from their duties, imitate the behaviours of their ‘masters’.
Phoblographer: If I am not mistaken, this series is a part of an even bigger project called “In Times of Peace,” which includes a documentary video. Tell us more about this project.
IOCOSE: As ‘times of peace’ are becoming a strategic condition for the temporary deployment of technologies and ideologies developed in times of war, we started looking at the ‘life’ of a drone in search of answers. In Times Of Peace is our exploration journey in this area, where Drone+ and Drone Selfies are the first two chapters released. There will be more.
Probably one of the most interesting aspects of this project, at least for us, is that when you start investigating the creative potential of a drone, you immediately bump into its limitations. In Drone+, a drone tried to run a 100 meters race measuring itself with the Nike+ app. Funnily enough, the parrot drone we used for this experiment, many times failed to even complete the race. In Drone Selfies we find something similar: drones have a built-in camera, so when they try to take selfies, they can’t really find their best angle, as in the case of human selfies. There is a certain awkwardness in all this, due to the impossibility to truly imagine what ‘times of peace’ are like. Of course we use drones as metaphors: there is us at the centre of these artworks.
Phoblographer: What exactly is IOCOSE?
IOCOSE: IOCOSE is an art collective composed by four persons – Matteo Cremonesi, Filippo Cuttica, Davide Prati and Paolo Ruffino – based across Berlin, Brescia and London. We started working together in 2006, with a project to adopt third world dogs. We found something interesting in the way certain types of people – especially in the corner of the world where that project was born, northern Italy – found it really easy to feel empathetic towards animals coming from poor countries, while still being really racists with immigrants. We decided to put that particular aspects of society ‘on steroids’, creating a fake company to adopt third world dogs and presenting it as real to the same people that triggered our investigation. The outcome was a mix of enthusiastic and outraged reactions, where no one questioned the authenticity of the operation.
Since then, IOCOSE has been our way to investigate the world, and to ask questions both to ourselves and to our audiences. What we seek is that short circuit generated by the collision of what is unbelievable, and what is already happening. It’s like creating science fiction novels, where the reference is our own world, with just a couple of tweaks here and there. What’s interesting though, is that many times reality outdoes our imagination, and when that happens it’s a really weird feeling.
Phoblographer: Do you guys have any upcoming projects we should keep an eye out for?
IOCOSE: This has been a very productive year so far. As we said, In Times of Peace is an ongoing project, more artworks has to come, we are producing them in this months. We are also working on an entirely new project, but we don’t want to give spoilers. You’ll hear more from us very soon.