Desert Radio Drone
Artist/Author: Ursula Biemann
The video is dedicated to some of the most high-tech surveillance technologies currently being deployed on military missions, from the war in Iraq to the Saharan desert front. Libya has received the newest models of unmanned airplanes from Germany, in return for their active demonstration of hindering migration flux to Europe. These drones glide over the desert borders, transmitting televisual data back to a remote receiver in real time. Other observation machines are equipped with night vision and thermal cameras, extending surveillance into realms invisible to the human eye.
Upon request, Colonel Muammar Kadhafi’s military department was unwilling to share its visual intelligence with me. Lack of source material meant that I had to artificially construct it from high-resolution satellite images of the Libyan desert. The soundtrack is composed of many layers of recordings from Saharan and Middle Eastern radio and TV stations, mixed with electronic sounds, music fragments and winds. This artificial videography addresses the important fact that migratory space cannot simply be documented by conventional videomaking on the ground. We need to enter the more ethereal strata of signal territories created by the streaming of images and the diffusion of sounds and information – territories with a relentless and excessive meaning production.