“Liberation 4.0”, project created by PIPA Prize 2016 nominee Daniel Beerstecher, is a video installation in which two drones dance in the skies above Rio de Janeiro. Each has a birdcage (with a living bird inside) attached to it. They circle around and fly side by side, taunt each other, bump into each other and find each other once again. But don’t be fooled by the tropical dream this strange pas-de-deux seems to suggest. The project deals with the problem of the technical evolution in the era of advanced digital interconnectedness (also known as Industry 4.0), and the question of individual freedom and self-determination finds itself at the center of the work. “The cages are there to remind us that, for the birds forced to follow the dance steps, actual freedom is not a possibility.”
The project had an initial funding from the PIPA Institute and also called on the publicon the audience via Kickstarter (click here to see it) to raise the rest of the movie budget. PIPA Institute also acquired a series of collages, contributing with the production expenses. Thanks to the public’s help, the estimated amount to finance the project was not only achieved, but also exceeded. Those who have collaborated with the Kickstarter project received rewards – ranging from postcards featuring stills from the video to the very drones used in the production.
Within the next few years, politics will pave the way for a digital future, influencing whether or not personal freedom is preserved as we understand it today, if and how we can control our own lives or whether this is up to others – large corporations, secret services or even autonomous communication systems. Beerstecher’s work discusses where does free-will stand in a context in which machines are able to communicate directly with each other. “Where in this world of automation and algorithms does the human being ultimately have its place?,” asks the artist.
According to PIPA Institute Curator Luiz Camillo Osorio, “Liberation 4.0 is about a city and a paradox: beauty and horror; liberty and imprisonment; tecnhology, power and destruction.” He continues: “Daniel Beerstecher’s work is always challenging social conventions and dealing with the uncanny. In a very subtle and serene way, his performances and poetical proposals are changing the parameters in which we approach reality.”