Waypoint, Follow, Orbit, Focus, Track, Pan

2017 | 00:14:12 | Croatia / United States | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: New Releases, Single Titles

Tags: Eastern European, Image Processing, Landscape, Surveillance, Technology, War

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Every country employs specific techniques for disguising its soldiers, every army has developed its own camouflage uniforms. Croatia is one of the few countries in the world that uses a digitized shape of its own territory in its camouflage military design. Why? The question is not meant to be answered by human reason. It does not relate to the perception of human eyes. Night vision cameras, binoculars, heat detectors and drones have their own ways of seeing the world.

Waypoint, Follow, Orbit, Focus, Track, Pan tries to understand the mission of an unmanned aerial vehicle. How do drones perceive humans? What do drones mean for humanity? The investigation takes place in areas, where the Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995, and left behind 20.000 dead; 35.000 wounded; 500,000 refugees and displaced persons; with many more missing. Despite having an overview, the drone doesn’t perceive any of this.

The sky is blue. Everything is still. Bodies blend into forests, equipment merges into fields of sunflowers. A cloud moves and reveals the sun. Bodies and objects on the ground block the light rays and cast shadows of their three-dimensional volume on the ground. The enemy knows. One of the biggest challenges of the aerial view is the perception of depth. If the camera eye of a drone, high up in the sky points straight down at noon the landscape appears flat. Completely open the territory becomes a cover-up for every object on its surface. The drone knows. It lowers from the objective God’s eye view to eye level, switches into the calculated circling of the predator. It hovers. Approaches, reproaches, menacing like an insect ready to deliver a deadly sting.

We lay down on the surface of the salty water. Close our eyes and start floating. We feel the wind the drone’s propellers are making on our arms and legs, our chest, our faces; feel the ripples around the outlines of our bodies. Then the wind gets less and less noticeable. The drone is rising, gets further and further away; flies higher and higher up into the sky. We get smaller and smaller, and smaller. The last thing we feel before we disappear is our own irrelevance.

Premiere

International Film Festival Rotterdam
Rotterdam
2017

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