History of Drones

Alicia Framis

17 March 2014

Taxidermy pigeon, camera

Newly commissioned by LABoral and Lighthouse

History of Drones is inspired by the German apothecary Julius Neubronner, who used pigeons to receive prescriptions from a nearby sanatorium and then in return deliver urgent medications during World War I. Neubronner came to the idea of equipping his pigeons with miniature cameras in order to be able to trace their path. It was only after WWI that surveillance aircrafts were introduced and perfected, and so at first pigeon photography seemed as a promising technique of taking detailed photographs of desired areas from a lower height.

Notwithstanding the fact that the use of pigeon photography never became very extensive, Alicia Framis argues that these pigeons equipped with cameras were the historical predecessors of contemporary drones. Besides actually being used in military contexts as a means of surveillance and collecting intelligence, they were indeed unmanned aerial instruments, which might had a different historical importance if it wasn’t for the quick and strong progress in the field of aviation. In this new work, Framis creates a light-hearted reminder of the evolution of aerial espionage.

Courtesy: Alicia Framis; Annet Gelink Gallery