This publication focuses on a single work of art: 5,000 Feet is the Best (2011) by artist Omer Fast. With this cinematic video work, Fast has entered into a discussion about one of the most pressing issues today, namely drone surveillance and warfare—that is, the use of unmanned planes operated by “pilots” on the ground.
Produced to accompany exhibitions of Fast's work at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK) in Oslo (February 9–May 6, 2012) and at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto (September 15–November 25, 2012), this publication aims to bridge the gap between a critical reader and an artist book. Although the respective exhibitions include additional works by Fast, the examination of this single work allows not only for a consideration of his broader practice, but also an extensive examination of the subject of the work.
Informed by Fast's layering of narrative and documentary material, this book compiles critical analyses of his film by art historians Liz Kotz and T. J. Demos, an article on drones reprinted from the journal Foreign Policy, as well as the artist's research and script materials set alongside film stills. Additionally, an e-mail thread of responses from practitioners active in different fields engages a range of issues pertaining to drone warfare, opening the conversation into a forum on politics, ethics, aesthetics, and human experience.
David Rohde; further contributions by Jennifer Allen, Christoph Cox, Céline Condorelli, Simon Critchley, T. J. Demos, Am Johal, Liz Kotz, Tom McCarthy, Marit Paasche, Ed Steck, Karen Brown