The United States has only just begun to imagine the full spectrum of possibilities that drones can offer outside the context of the army and military. Last night, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made an announcement on 60 Minutes that the company plans on implementing a drone delivery service called Prime Air within the next five years.
Bezos premiered a trailer (above) of an Amazon order traveling through a warehouse until a quadcopter picks up the package and flies it to the customer's house (supposedly within 30 minutes). UPS could become a thing of the past if the company makes Prime Air work.
There are obvious issues with this program: Will the Amazon drones have secret surveillance agendas? How long until someone shoots one down (it will inevitably happen)? Who will monitor the drones? How do you return the product carrier case after it's delivered?
Despite the fact that the "announcement" was marketing fluff--seriously, the product won't be ready for five years--it's undeniably fascinating that drones are slowly but surely making their way to both commercial and domestic spaces for consumer convenience purposes.
This had The Creators Project thinking about possible drone uses that aren't commercially pragmatic. When drones eventually become omnipresent, how will artists and inventors take advantage of them to benefit creativity? We've been moved by the drone representations on canvases, but now we wanted to brainstorm a few ideas about how the technology can further the work of artists. The Drone Era of art may be on the horizon.
Drones x Graffiti
We already know that some government institutions are using drones to curb creative output. Germany's national railway operate, Deutsche Bahn, recently deployed surveillance drones (md4-1000s, to be specific) to monitor train depots and maintenance spots using hi-res, infrared cameras in hope of preventing taggers.
Graffiti artists could feasible turn the tables on the policing by controlling drones to reach those near-impossible tag spots, such as bridges, skyscrapers, highway overpasses, and more. The above photo depicts a legendary and daring tag in New York that could be completed much easier with a drone.
Yes, taggers gain credibility and accolades for making street art in death-defying manners, but drone-usage could enhance the process by bringing extra cans of spray paint to the artists, keeping a lookout for cops, or even spraying paint on walls themselves. For taggers who are not parkour-inclined, this could be a big step into the future of graffiti. The tactic may look something like this:
Drones x Design Installation
With drones, installing LED lights, ornaments (think about how hard it must be to put the star on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree), and more could be ten times more efficient and safe. Organizing a gallery space or even decorating houses for Halloween could be streamlined with delivery aid from the aerial vehicles.
Similarly, spectacle-level concerts like the Yeezus tour, or LCD Soundsystem's final shows in New York, could be made even crazier with use of drones. LCD Soundsystem dropped a waterfall of balloons on the audience during their ultimate sets--now imagine a quadcopter buzzing about Madison Square Garden, dropping merch and guitar picks for the fans' benefit.
Hey, we already know groups are developing drone-mounted laser weapons. Why not drone-mounted laser light shows?
Drones x Photography
Drones are already used for photography, be it for surveillance, rescue missions, reconnaissance, or spying. Some, however, are making art with the help of the aircrafts.
For example, Eric Cheng, has been attaching a GoPro camera to quadcopters to capture extreme sports footage and images of nature. Aerial photography team Terry and Belinda Kilby recently released a book called Drone Art: Baltimore, that took pictures of iconic Baltimore locales from a bird's eye view.
Soon, zoologists and environmental researchers might start using drones to photograph hard-to-spot wildlife. Equally interesting could be art projects that use drones to take experimental photography. Sure, an artist could skew the idea of drones-as-voyeurs in the same vein as HBO's show Voyeur, but I'm excited to see fashion spreads and photo essays taken via quadcopter.
And, of course, how could we forget the "Harlem Shake" Drone Swarm?
Drones are becoming a widespread part of culture, so it's only a matter of time until drone delivery can benefit the arts. Whether it's delivering spray paint cans to Banksy (because of course he'd own a drone), or making concerts more spectacular, the unmanned vehicles could potentially complement creativity. That is, if yours doesn't get shot down by a protestor first.