Unmanned aerial vehicles have become widely available, and they trigger strong reactions, not only from the citizenry but also from the authorities. Our acceptance of the camera is shifting as we reassess the boundaries between documentation and surveillance and balance questions of privacy, security, and civil process.

Stephen Mayes will moderate this panel exploring the practical and emotional place of drones in the modern world with the speakers Tomas Van Houtryve, E. Adam Attia a.k.a. ESSAM, and Brandon LaGanke and John Carlucci from GHOST+COW.

Presented by Studio 55 | @st55nyc.

Event Hashtag(s):


Tomas Van Houtryve | @tomasvh
Tomas is a photographer, artist, and author who engages critical contemporary issues around the world. Initially a student in philosophy, Tomas developed a passion for photography while enrolled in an overseas university program in Nepal. Immediately after graduation in 1999, he devoted himself fully to photojournalism, starting out with the Associated Press in Latin America. He was the first AP photographer to cover the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in 2002 he traveled to Kandahar to photograph families of the Guantanamo inmates. Tomas was awarded an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in 2008, and in 2010 he was named the POYi Photographer of the Year. His first monograph, Behind the Curtains of 21st Century Communism, was published in spring 2012. The seven-year-long project documents life in the last countries where the communist Party remains in power: North Korea, Cuba, China, Nepal, Vietnam, and Laos. The series won the 2012 POYi World Understanding Award. 

E. Adam Attia a.k.a. ESSAM | @e_adamattia
ESSAM is a New York-based artist, born in New York and raised in Maine; he joined the US Army in 2003 where he served three years as a geospatial analyst. In 2006 ESSAM enrolled in the School of Visual Arts where he received a BFA in Photography. It was the military that informed his work as an artist where he now seeks to create conversations on both social and political issues. Over time ESSAM's work became more experimental until in early 2012 he began working in the streets of New York. Over a nine-month period working stealthily by night he created his most notable work. ESSAM's Drone campaign received national media attention and is largely responsible for raising awareness and bringing the dialogue on foreign and domestic UAV use to its current level. In November of 2012 ESSAM was arrested in his home by the NYPD for his artistic work on drones, his case is currently pending.

On the morning of November 28, 2012, ESSAM was arrested in his home after being pursued for nearly a year by the NYPD for making provocative street art commenting on the domestic and international use of drone aircraft (UAV's) by the United States and its police departments. The work has been featured in The New Yorker, ANIMAL, Complex Magazine, Portland Press Herald, and countless other perodicals as well as on CNN, Fox Business, and Russia Today.

GHOST+COW | @ghostcowfilms
GHOST+COW is an award-winning Brooklyn-based directing duo comprised of Brandon LaGanke and John Carlucci. They specialize in music videos, films, commercials and branded content, but above all, they are conceptual thinkers. Their work has screened all over the world including Slamdance, five times at SXSW, Telluride, Milano, Cannes Lions, as well as been featured in The Colbert Report, Conan O’Brian, TMZ, and Seth Meyers, and has been covered by Creativity Magazine, VICE, Motionographer, Huffington Post, IFC, MTV, Gizmodo, Filmmaker Magazine, Playboy, and The New York Times, among many more. Their recent branded work for British Airways won best branded web film at the 2013 ThinkLA’s Emerging Director’s Showcase, a Silver Pencil in Best Direction at the 2014 One Show; and they were one of SHOOT Magazine’s coveted New Directors to watch 2014. 

Drone Boning project - What is considered by the press as the world's first aerial pornography film, Drone Boning is more of an exploration of the blurred intersection of art and pornography. Subsequently, it is a satirical social commentary on the increasing privacy issues associated with drones.