In the Robot Skies – A drone love story
[Designer and production for drones and costume]
In the Robot Skies is the world’s first narrative short film, shot entirely through drones. The film is captured by a specially developed flock of camera drones each with their own set of cinematic rules and behaviours. The film explores the drone as a cultural object, not just as a new instrument of visual storytelling but also as the catalyst for a new collection of urban subcultures. In the same way the New York subway car of the 80s gave birth to a youth culture of wild style graffiti and hip hop, the age of ubiquitous drones as smart city infrastructure will create a new network of surveillance activists and drone hackers.
Through the eyes of the drone we see two teenagers each held by police order within the digital confines of their council estate tower block in London. A network of drones survey the council estates, as a roving flock off CCTV cameras and our two characters are kept apart by this autonomous aerial infrastructure. We watch as they pass notes to each other via their own hacked and decorated drone, like kids in an old fashioned classroom, scribbling messages, tagging their technology. We watch as they fly their drones back and forth to each other, whilst constantly running around the council estate towers to try and avoid the surveillance drones that are always overhead. In this near future city, drones are the agents of state surveillance but also become co-opted as the aerial vehicles through which two teens fall in love.
Dir. Liam Young
Part of Artefact 2016 – Up in the Air exhibition in Leuven, Belgium.
Part of Imagine Film Festival 2016 – Virtual Cities exhibition at EYE Institute Amsterdam.
Commissioned by Channel 4.
Film stills courtesy of Liam Young. Photography courtesy of Artefact.