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As part of an ongoing research-based project into how drone usage is slowly shaping society and having an increasingly large impact on the human experience, Bob Bicknell-Knight is currently producing a number of paintings of drones being used in various industries. Bicknell-Knight is exploring both military and commercial drones, looking at how drone usage has become normalised within society as a tool for delivering packages, surveying communities and documenting wedding receptions, whilst disregarding the militaristic background of the technology.

Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic drone use has expanded, with drones being utilised around the world to ensure successful lockdowns. As drones continue to be used and produced, the appearance of them will become the new normal, allowing governments to further harness their power.

A turning point for drone use in the UK was in 2018, when hundreds of flights were cancelled at Gatwick Airport following reports of drone sightings close to the runway. With 140,000 passengers and 1,000 flights affected, it was one of Gatwick’s biggest disruptions. The incident caused a media firestorm, with mass speculation as to who could have caused the incident, as well as highlighting the lack of regulatory framework to protect against the misuse of drones.

The work attempts to chart the history of drone usage around the world, considering how this relatively new technology continues to impact human lives. The below paintings depict drones being used by police forces around the world.