Omer Fast: 5000 Feet is the Best

5000 Feet is the Best (2011) is a film about drone warfare and the pilots who operate these machines. Based on a series of interviews the artist conducted with a former drone operator now working as a Las Vegas casino security guard, the work takes its name from the optimum operational flight altitude of a US Air Force Predator drone – at a distance of 5000 feet drones can identify virtually anything.

The film weaves together the operator’s account of his life and work to explore the shifting divisions between reality and representation, truth and memory. Its eerie effect is in the way it uncannily brings drone vision close to home, enabling us to visualise events taking place in landscapes we have no direct access to, while the consequences of killing at a distance remain hidden.

5000 Feet is the Best was acquired for Towner’s Collection, in partnership with the Imperial War Museum, through Art Fund’s Moving Image Fund for Museums. Towner, along with the Whitworth in Manchester, was one of the first two venues to be awarded this fund.

Image: 5000 Feet is the Best, 2011. Digital video, color, sound, english spoken. 30 min. Edition of 6 + 2AP. Courtesy of gb agency, Paris and Arratia Beer, Berlin. Still by Yonn Thomas

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