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The hand gestures used to control a camera drone (DJI Mavic Air) have been captured with an analog medium format camera. This is then pictured in a juxtaposition of analog photography and digital drone photography. There is a photographic depiction of the specific gestures (codes used to control a highly modern digital device) in both an analog and a digital context.
The new DJI Mavic Air is – just like the DJI Spark or other DJI camera drones – equipped with an intelligent gesture control system. In this way, it is possible to handle the drone without a dedicated controller. The gesture control system of the DJI Mavic Air allows the user not only to manoeuvre the drone, but also to operate the camera via the drone’s Smart-Capture mode.
In this post–digital age, in which we are living right now, the question arises as to how much we control new media,and how much new media already controls us. In the case of using drone photography, the actor finds themselves in a situation where s/he first needs to learn specific control gestures (or codes) to be able to handle the drone, in order to give commands, e.g. taking a picture of the actor. Before that, s/he also has to make a specific gesture just to be recognized by the drone at all… just to be able to signal another command telling it to take a picture of him/her independently.
Giorgio Agamben already made the following assertion in his book “Means Without End” from 1996: “At the end of the 19th century the western bourgeoisie had already lost its gestures for good.” To me this means that the “gestures” of our society already vanished with the beginning of the industrial revolution. That’s why I’m asking myself how gestures could look in a post–digital age and if there actually have been the development of new ones since Agamben’s writing, or if they have died out completely.
Since the digital revolution has already been carried out, and technical devices like smartphones, camera drones or the internet are part of our daily lives, one could refer to our era as post–digital. This brings up the question as to how much Agamben could have anticipated the further development of the gesture in 1996. My art project “The Gestures of the Post Digital Age” wants to examine these exact queries.
Furthermore, I’m asking myself what the rise of digital devices means for our daily body language, our daily gestures, and whether or not these “post–digital gestures”, which are broadened again and again through the introduction of new devices, inhere a certain coding that relates them closely to Agambens characterization of a gesture.
Moreover I’d like to find a counterpoint to these developments and questions through my artistic approach and my means of expression. That’s why I decided to oppose the fast pace of digital developments with an analog, more time-consuming process expression (analog middle format camera). With this work, I’d like to explore both paces and modes (analog and digital) of the artistic medium photography side by side and contrast them in an exhibition.
The analog prints (black and white) are to be juxtaposed with the photos taken with the drone. This also creates a juxtaposition between both mediums in their own processes of editing and printing, thus symbolizing the acceleration and deceleration of both working methods.