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Baden pailthorpe
MQ-9 Reaper II (That Others May Die)
Animation | hdv | color | 6'0'' | Australia | 2014
Baden Pailthorpe’s MQ-9 Reaper II (That Others May Die) 2014 is a surreal exploration of the MQ-9 Reaper drone and its networked human and non-human agents. Originally commissioned by Artspace, Sydney for Mark Feary’s exhibition On Return and What Remains (2014), including Omer Fast, Richard Mosse and Harun Farocki, MQ-9 Reaper II sits in between the reflections and refractions of the contemporary state of remote warfare. It combines cultures and politics of the military-industrial complex, corporate warrior culture, war trophies and interior design. A renovated drone control centre is redeployed from the ground to the air over a mountainous Afghan-American landscape, offering a new kind of luxury for the drone operator/corporate warrior, complete with marble floors, leather couch and cutting-edge contemporary war art. The hydraulic wall can be lowered for entertaining, personal training or surveillance. The slowly rotating unit allows for panoramic views and constant situational awareness. This speculative, controller architecture is cut with images of that which it controls. Two incarnations of the MQ-9 Reaper drone, the classic General Atomics USAF model, and its own idealised reflection contemplate each other and their increasing sense of semi-autonomous agency.
Baden Pailthorpe (b. 1984) is part of a generation of artists whose practice is shaped by Internet culture. He holds a Ph.D from the University of New South Wales, an MFA from l’Université Paris VIII, an MA from COFA and a BA from the University of Sydney. Much of Baden Pailthorpe’s work consists of hyper-real animations, video and sculpture that engage with the spatiality of power, politics and the cultures of late-capitalism. Significant exhibitions include GAME ART/VIDEO, 21st Triennale di Milano, Milan (2016); Spatial Operations, Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle (2015); Guarding the Home Front, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney (2015); On Return and What Remains, Artspace, Sydney (2014) & CACSA, Adelaide (2015); Students of War, Hors Pistes, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014); Cadence, Westspace (2014); Moving_Image 10, La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris (2013); and Rencontres Internationales, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012). Baden’s work is held in significant private and public collections, including Artbank, Australia; Australian Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra; Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle; The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; The Australian War Memorial, Canberra; The Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk), Amsterdam; The National Library of Australia, Canberra; and UQ Art Museum, Brisbane.