Finishing School | Artist Collective
We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust | 2014
Photo Credit: J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

“From late Neolithic times in the Near East, right down to our own day, two technologies have recurrently existed side by side: one authoritarian, the other democratic, the first system-centered, immensely powerful, but inherently unstable, the other [hu]man-centered, relatively weak, but resourceful and durable.” - Lewis Mumford, Authoritarian and Democratic Technics

"We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust" is a participatory sculpture project by Los Angeles-based artist collective in collaboration with artists Nadia Afghani and Matt Fisher. The artists built a full size replica of a MQ-1B Predator drone aircraft at Occidental College, President Obama's alma mater. Over two hundred people helped FS and collaborators hand-finish the drone with an age-old Middle Eastern application method. Specifically, they applied architectural-grade mud to the surface of the cnc'd drone substrate. This mud architecture process is still used today in rural areas of the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Northern Africa. These specific areas listed are where President Obama's drone program is most active. In the dichotomy between the drone's form and its surface, the sculpture initiated a powerful discussion of technology and contemporary foreign policy while inviting multiple propositions about cultural legacies and possible resistances in the era of pervasive global surveillance and warfare.

Project Essay by Matt Fisher

Selected images



"We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust" is made possible by the Wanlass Artist in Residence Program, which is supported by the Kathryn Caine Wanlass Foundation.
Support for this project also provided by the Remsen Bird Fund.