February 10 - March 19
ANDREW BARCO / MT COAST
CURATED BY ESS STAFF
On July 1, 2016, in a gesture at transparency, the Obama administration released a dubious report on its use of drone strikes in areas outside of active conflict (meaning areas not in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria) between January 20, 2009 and December 31, 2015: 473 strikes that resulted in the deaths of 2372-2581 combatants, and 64-116 non-combatants. If one is to believe these figures, one might interpret the death ratio as a testament to the precision of the unmanned drone as an instrument of the war on terror. However, statisticians and independent media report that the numbers in this report represent only a fraction of the actual death toll exacted.
The silhouette of the predator drone has become a signifier of distrust in the government, of secrecy, of innovation and profit in the industries of destruction, and of the inhuman distance between destroyer and destroyed that is predominant in modern warfare. Enter The Androne—a semi-functional hurdy gurdy sculpted in the familiar form of a predator drone— the creation of artist ANDREW BARCO. (A hurdy gurdy is a drone instrument played by turning a crank to cause a rosined wheel to turn and vibrate an array of strings.) The Androne is a darkly humorous chimaera; the result of the unnatural fusion of an instrument of war with an instrument of music turns out to be an imperfect object that fully succeeds at neither function.
In composer MT COAST's companion audio piece, synthesized drones play against more chaotic sound, explosions sound near and far, and we hear the testimonies of the operators and victims of drone warfare. These sounds give way to periods of ecstatic, placid drone undisturbed by the sounds of war.
Pilot:Drone:Committee:Target serves as a meditation on the fleeting nature of hope during uncertain, inhumane times.
Related Blog Post
About the Artists
ANDREW BARCO is an object, installation and performance maker based in Chicago, Illinois. His work is concerned with the often strange and improbable ways ideas and habits can be transmitted across cultural landscapes and through time. With an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Andrew’s work uses craft and industrial histories, quirky and edgy relational gestures, and philosophical inquiry to create affective and thoughtful encounters. His work has been featured in group exhibitions in Durham NC, Baltimore MD, Hartford, CT, and Chicago, IL, New Orleans, LA. Recent group show of note was the ACRE project show “What We Don’t Know” at Heaven Gallery (2015). Solo exhibitions include: “Imminence: A Life” at Threewalls, in Chicago, IL (2014), “Oblique Negotiations” at the Fivesevendell Project Space in Boston, MA (2010) and “Passion for the Real” at West Village and “Sonnets to Orpheus” at Transom Gallery in Durham, NC (2007).
MT COAST is an experimental sound artist from Chicago, IL who uses computers to explore the limits of organic and acoustic sounds by processing field recordings, acoustic instruments and by mimicking organic sounds with software. MT Coast uses a process oriented approach to demonstrate the relationships between sounds and their novel concocted counterparts, but more importantly he composes deeply textured pieces intended to call into question the relationship between the natural and synthetic.