today is international drone day, a day proclaimed as “an annual celebration of drone, community, and experimental sounds.” as we have gathered online here to listen to some ambient drones while watching the sun set over toronto’s high park and lake ontario, as we take a bit of time to collectively breathe and enjoy some beauty in an otherwise dismal time, we cannot divorce art from the material conditions under which we create or consume it.

the past two weeks has been full of immense settler-colonial violence, both current and also past. barely more than 24 hours ago a ceasefire was announced that has, at least for the time being, brought a pause to the slaughter of palestinian people in their homes by an advanced, occupying military. the current push to steal and annex more gaza land by the state of israel wrought over 250 deaths in 11 days. on the very same day, it was announced that the remains of 215 first nation children were found on the grounds of the former kamloops indian residential school in british columbia, which was shut in 1978.

while these two specific atrocities are vastly separated across space and time, they are linked by the settler-colonial nature at the very core of these horrifying acts. settler-colonial violence is at the heart of the violence in gaza and the west bank, as it both was and continues to be at the heart of violence continually perpetrated by the canadian state agains first nations, métis, and inuit people here. the contemporary links are further deepened by the millions of dollars in weapons and technology, thus the violence in canada and israel is not just settler-colonial in nature, but also capitalist-imperialist.

this performance is being conducted on stolen land, and as my audience is mostly north american, it is also being consumed on stolen land. this is the material conditions under which my art is created and consumed, and as such i make this statement of solidarity with the palestinian people resisting occupation and oppression and with the indigenous people of these lands who continue to resist similar occupation and oppression. from turtle island to palestine, settler-colonialism is a crime.

mike barber
may 29, 2021

UPDATE: there were some technical issues this morning, thus the sunrise drone was not able to happen. looking forward to the sunset drone with you all!

In honour International Drone Day, I will be performing two live improvised ambient drone sets — one at dawn as the sun rises, the other at dusk as the sun sets. The start times are 5:30 AM and 8:15 PM eastern standard time, with expected durations of about 30 to 45 minutes each (it will be governed by the actual sunrise and sunset). The YouTube stream links for each are below.