You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
– R. Buckminster Fuller
Like the internet and countless technologies before it, the aerial drone is military in origin. A number of previously unconsidered applications for this technology are being explored as the drone has become increasingly accessible to a civilian population. The surveillance potentials of this tool have highlighted tensions between privacy and transparency, and have challenged some of our most fundamental assumptions about public space. The democratization and proliferation of the aerial drone represents an unparalleled opportunity for experimentation and research.
DRONE RESEARCH LAB believes accessibility, familiarity and proficiency ultimately lead to a curiosity and irreverence required to generate unexpected and novel uses. This playfulness saps drones of their status as vilified objects, while acknowledging more optimistic potential trajectories. We assert that the drone will strengthen collective consciousness and awareness of our roles in the larger networks and ecosystems we inhabit — to a degree unparalleled since the advents of satellite photography, space travel and the web. We aspire to build a civilian knowledge base of non-violent, scientific, and potentially lifesaving applications. The unavoidable and primary currency of architecture is space. It is the duty of architects and designers to interrogate any tool that can simultaneously access formerly restricted spatial territory while shifting our perception of known environments. As the debate concerning domestic and international drone flights (and attacks) is unfolding, architects and designers have been noticeably absent from meaningful, mainstream discourse.
DRONE RESEARCH LAB’s exhibition, “AIR RIGHTS” hopes to confront this by addressing such questions as:
• What do buildings look like when drones become commonplace? Do they facilitate or obstruct these machines?
• What are the ground rules and reasonable expectations of a society already living with intelligent, flying machines?
• How can drones be embraced by artists, designers and architects as tools of positive change while acknowledging existing connotations and associations?