Five Thousand Feet is the Best, 2011
Exhibition view, ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations, La Biennale di Venezia,Venice, 2011
Digital Video, Color, Sound
The video is based on two meetings with a Predator drone operator which were recorded in an hotel in Las Vegas in September 2010. On camera, the drone operator agreed to discuss the technical aspects of his job and his daily routine. Off camera and off the record, he briefly described recurring incidents in which the unmanned plane fired at both militants and civilians - and the psychological difficulties he experienced as a result - before breaking the interview off.
Instead of looking for the appropriate news accounts or documentary footage to augment his redacted story, the video is deliberately miscast and misplaced: It follows an actor cast as the drone operator who grudgingly sits for an interview in a dark hotel. The interview is repeatedly interrupted by the actor’s digressions, which take the viewer on meandering trips around Las Vegas. Told in quick flashbacks, the stories form a circular plot that nevertheless returns fitfully to the voice and blurred face of the drone pilot - and to his unfinished story.