When Drones Are Dancers

A troupe brings a new entry to the bourgeoning field of "drone art." 
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Eleven Play/YouTube

The drone industry, if it had its way, would prefer that we not refer to it as "the drone industry." Makers of autonomous fliers have embarked on a rebranding campaign that encourages consumers to replace the word "drone" with something more mundane, something more expansive, something less ... threatening. "Unmanned aerial system," if it's all the same to you.

But it's not just the stake-holders in the drone-industrial complex who have been working to expand our sense of what flying robots can do. Artists, too, have been experimenting with broader takes on drones unmanned aerial systems. The Japanese dance troupe Eleven Play—known for incorporating advanced technologies into their performances—has been including drones as dancers. The effects of which are, as Hyperallergic points out, "mesmerizing and eerie."

The performance—yet another example of drones being both used and explored for the sake of art—is an updated version, in some sense, of Alexander McQueen’s iconic use of robots in fashion presentation. It's about the interaction between machine and mind, between metal and flesh. There's dialogue. There's relationship. There's tension. 

Which is another way of saying: there's dancing.  

Via Hyperallergic

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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