Tibetan Drone Burial Art By Rick Silva

October 16, 2014 | Rhett Jones

Artist Rick Silva’s new show, opening at Transfer Gallery tomorrow night, conjoins the digital and the physical in an exploration of the space that neither can reach — the afterlife. Inspired by Tibetan rituals in which the body is left on a mountain top to be eaten by birds of prey, Silva is giving artworks made by his friends a modern burial.


Using a consumer grade quad-copter drone, Silva is lifting 10 submitted artworks into the sky and recording their ascent via the attached camera. In each case he takes the drone as far as it will go before it loses contact with the remote control, at which point the artificial intelligence takes over and begins a safe landing outside of human control.


Silva’s practice often involves the cross-section between nature and technology — in this case, the old fashioned bird of prey and the properly Obama-fied bird of prey 2.0 that is the modern drone. His previous show at Transfer was a series of prints from his time doing 3D modeling En Plein Air. For that series he would take a laptop into nature and respond directly to what was in front of him.


Videos from the action will be on display at the gallery along with drone and ritual inspired sculptures. You can find Silva’s Artist Notebook for ANIMAL here and his “Guide To Parallel Birds of The Future” here. Additional new work, seen for the first time in this post, are prints on aluminum that will be on display tomorrow night. “Sky Burial,” Oct 17 – Nov 8, Transfer Gallery, Brooklyn, Opening reception 7pm-10pm (Images: Rick Silva Courtesy Transfer Gallery)