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Installation For Drone Pilots Puts A Face On Nameless Casualties

With the help of Pakistani locals and French artist JR, #Notabugsplat battles drone strikes with art.

by Beckett Mufson
Apr 7 2014, 3:40pm

There's an undeniable darkness under the shadow of the drone. Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, these tactical war-crafts have claimed as many victims as they have created opposition to their highly-effective means and methods. One art collective, acting under French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement, have responded to this rising, remote-controlled violence, by installing a giant portrait of a Pakistani child on a hillside in the heavily bombed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

According to the unnamed collective's website, the realities of these strare such that human targets are reduced to low-resolution blobs on a screen, inspiring Predator drone pilots to refer under the macabre nickname, "bugsplats." The idea follows that if drone pilots can attach faces to their victims, they'll be more empathetic. The artists hope this empathy will travel back to the policy-makers themselves, who have the power to change things .

Aided by the Foundation for Fundamental Rights(FFR), the collective are getting the message out with the hashtag and webpage, #Notabugsplat. Local villagers have thus far embraced the artists' efforts, welcoming the chance to defend themselves with empathy and creativity, rather than violence.

The image on the mountain is so large it can be captured from space. While the child may remain nameless, her face will be immortalized until the final days of Google Earth—an image of humanity in the face of cold equations.

Images via

bug splat