Art Basel 2017 | Booth T5
Her Face Was Covered
Digital film and 80 slides playing at 4 second interval
Her Face Was Covered is a two-part work consisting of one video projection with sound (5:48 min) and a slide projection of 80 slides.
The starting point for both parts of the work is the story of a US drone operator who describes a live-fire mission in a series of factual statements: Observed from high up in the sky, a woman approaches a smoldering truck on a desert road. After hesitating for a moment, she scavenges through the wreckage and picks up a weapon. This action changes her from civilian bystander to armed combatant and the woman is killed by a missile fired from the drone. The drone operator declined to be interviewed directly about this event but agreed for his close friend to speak on his behalf via skype. The facts of the story - already separated by one generation - are further complicated by nagging uncertainties regarding the woman's identity. As the drone operator explains, the female combatant might have actually been a male combatant dressed as a female civilian. Or it could have been just a female civilian out scavenging who is mistaken for a male combatant dressed as a female civilian. The ultimate identity of the person killed, his or her motives, are of less consequence as the procedural steps and firing protocol that lead to his or her death. The short video contains the drone operator's oral testimony, as conveyed by his friend via skype, along with footage of a film crew preparing a set for a drone strike. A slide show accompanies the same story with images pulled from the internet. The images were found by typing each sentence of the story into Google and picking through what the algorithm came up with. In both parts of the work, the visual is only nominally concerned with the verbal, stressing instead the mutability and the paradoxical in the drone operator’s otherwise dry and technical language.