Surveillance, Warfare, Protest
May 19–September 16, 2018
The exhibition is based on the two-year research project Drone Vision. Surveillance, Warfare, Protest – a collaborative initiative of Valand Academy, Gothenburg University and the Hasselblad Foundation. Led by Dr. Sarah Tuck the research project explores the affective meanings of drone technologies on photography and human rights.
As a curatorial research project Drone Vision is further developed through a partnership with NiMAC (The Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Associated with the Pierides Foundation) Nicosia, Cyprus and Zahoor Ul Akhlaq Gallery, at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. Simultaneous exhibitions will open on May 18 2018 at The Hasselblad Center, NiMAC Zahoor Ul Akhlaq Gallery with three commissioned photo based art works in each gallery exploring drones as a new camera consciousness within each city and region.
The three artists who have been awarded to develop works for the Hasselblad Center exhibition are Ignacio Acosta, Behjat Omer Abdulla, and Mhairi Sutherland.
Curators: Sarah Tuck and Louise Wolthers
Below are short preliminary descriptions of their projects :
Ignacio Acosta’s work Drones and Drums. Resistance, the final frontier is an investigation in the use of drone technologies as an infrastructure of protest by Sámi against the Gállak mining project in Norrbotten Country, Swedish Sápmi. The research develops at a tipping point when British-based mining exploration company Beowulf Mining seeks to gain a 25-year exploitation concession for Gállak North, one of the largest iron ore deposits in Europe.
For the Sámi, reindeer herding remains, after centuries, one of the principal components of their culture, identity, and economy. Extractive development in the area would severely affect reindeer migration paths and threaten the Laponian Area, a World Heritage Centre, situated just 30 kilometres away. If the mine goes ahead, an infrastructure of roads and railways will open “Jokkmokk mining district”, paving the way for other more toxic mines, including copper and uranium.
Drones and Drums. Resistance, the final frontier suggests a symbolic link between drones as a tool of resistance to neoliberal power, to the use of drums to resist Christianisation. The project explores the use of drones as a re-distribution of who are the ‘seen subjects’ through extensive fieldwork in collaboration with Mose Agestam, Tor L. Tourda and Henrik Blind.
The project advocates the multiple dimension of Sápmi, as a physical, cultural and ecological entity.
Ignacio Acosta is a Chilean born, London based artist and researcher working with photography and exploring geopolitical power dynamics in minerals, geographies and historical narratives.
In Mhairi Sutherland’s project, her approach has been to engage with aspects of Swedish militarism, making connections between historic military aviation and contemporary drone (UAV) technologies. Specifically, the research has explored the chronology of Saab Aerospace and Defence in the city of Linköping, where the company has been based since 1937, and includes contact with organisations such as the Flygvapenmuseum (Swedish Air Defence Museum) and the Swedish Defence University.
The Bergverkstaden (Mountain workshop) is the Saab underground factory in Linköping, originally constructed in the 1940s and which continued to be operational until the 1990s. Escalate focusses on the Bergverkstaden as a site of military-industrial production, and as a withdrawn, subterranean and ‘secretive’ space. Through digital video and camera-less processes referencing the early history of photography, the work provokes questions about the paradigm of military and commercial interests and the trajectory of drone development within the national boundaries of neutral Sweden.
Mhairi Sutherland is a visual artist and curator based in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, working in photography, video, drawing and site-specific installation.
For his Drone Vision project, Behjat Omer Abdulla’s research addresses the stories that are told by current residents of the largest refugee camp in Sweden: Restad Gård, located on the outskirts of Vänersborg.
He investigates how, through our continuous engagement with technology, and the speed and accessibility of contemporary image reproduction, it has become easier to be aware of the different moods of politics, war and genocide. Stories of war and artworks depicting human pain have become part of our online social lives. In the process of dealing with such images we are psychologically and physically affected. An image or a story can disturb our routines, make us question our own nature and change the way we live. For some the reality of the term “to be under drone attack” exists as a myth or a kind of political story, but for other people war stalks them for weeks and years.
Behjat Omer Abdulla is a mixed media artist, born in Kurdistan/Iraq. Moved to UK in 1999–2013 and now he lives and works in Sweden.