Drone Art

Courtesy of the artist and galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris

Adrien Missika takes to the sky.

French artist Adrien Missika operates in the chaotic, unpredictable space between nature (e.g., his 2013 plant sculpture Jardin d’Hiver, pictured) and technology. His newest tool is a three-and-a-half-pound Chinese drone, which he recently flew over the U.S.-Mexican border to capture video. The footage was for his next book, Amexica (Edizioni Periferia, June), and a show of the same name, which opens April 25 at the Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris. In February, one week after coming home, he was editing tape in his studio in Berlin, drone thankfully intact—he wondered if U.S. Border Protection might shoot it down—and the video playing on his computer screen showed the blue sky over the border east of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

As Missika flies the drone with a remote control, it descends and hovers near the ground. Then he loses control, and the copter-like device crash-lands upside down. The camera points to the sky, and long stalks of yellow grass run from top to bottom across the frame. It is a happenstance moment of stillness in a turbulent project about migration and borders. “Woop,” Missika said after the crash and cracked a smile. “It’s really nice. I really like the mistake.” “Amexica” runs through July 13; 32–38 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois; 33-1/42-71-44-50.