Purpose Built Hunter-Killer UAV — MT Coast on 'Pilot:Drone::Committee:Target'


drone [drohn]: from a West Germanic verb meaning ‘resound, boom’; related to Dutch dreunen ‘to drone,’ German dröhnen ‘to roar,’ and Swedish dröna ‘to drowse.’

A whirling buzz overhead, constant and pervasive. Before the drone, the sky was silent, now silence is redefined as drone. The sky is white noise.

The audio composition is intended to evoke two firsthand accounts: what it might feel like to pilot a drone strike and how it might feel to live in an area under drone surveillance.

My work with The Androne was steered by what I could find detailed in first hand accounts of drone strikes. Common to these accounts is a constant humming overhead, the sudden explosions of strikes and an apprehension of the inevitable. But, there is also the sounds of the cockpit (or lack thereof), the instrumentation, the pilot's breath over communications channels and the pulsing pressure of blood.


These motifs are what I strove to create in the audio production. The arrangement was then built around what I could conclude about the abstract intimacy between the pilots and the targets. With each encounter, these two subjects become increasingly co-constitutive, making each other stronger by seeking their annihilation.


All of the sounds heard in the audio composition are directly sourced from The Androne. Seven different microphones of various characters were selected and used to gather the source material. In the studio session, The Androne was played by MT Coast, Andrew Barco and Hannah Barco. The samples were then equalized and edited resulting in the palette of textures and shades used for the initial arrangement. Certain samples were then used to build synthesizers. The synthesizers were performed and recorded as overdubs to finish the piece.

The composition is crafted to be a textural ambiance contributing to the experience of The Androne. My hope is that while visitors ponder the beauty, horror and comedy of The Androne, they be reminded that these radical and destructive gestures are not alien, but are deeply intimate extensions of our shared humanity.

Pilot:Drone:Committee:Target opens Friday, February 10, 2017 with a reception from 6-9pm, at which MICHAEL ZERANG will perform with The Androne on his own hurdy-gurdy-esque instrument, Queequeg's Coffin.