The Great Circle: Artistic representations of drone culture in Dar es Salaam

South African artist Francois Knoetze's investigates drone culture, surveillance and mapping in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with his project The Great Circle.

From the Series

South African performance artist and filmmaker Francois Knoetze presents his most recent work, The Great Circle, created during a two month-long residency in Tanzania. The Great Circle is a series of sculptural costumes, photos, interviews, found footage and performances developed during Knoetze's Artist Residency at Nafasi Artspace in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The series features the character of a grounded drone which has deviated from its function, navigating ways of seeing and representing through participatory storytelling, rather than remote surveillance. Narrative and choreographic material for The Great Circle was devised in collaboration with the Muda Africa dance troupe and local artists, writers, tour guides and drone enthusiasts. It plunges into drone culture in Dar es Salaam, drawing links between colonial surveillance projects and contemporary grassroots drone mapping.

Through improvisational performance, public encounters, interviews and found footage montage, the series provides a playful counterpoint to harmful stereotypes of the continent. It attempts reflexively to critique the artist’s own perspective and lens, while foregrounding the personal narratives, lived experiences and subjectivities of the performers. The Great Circle is a psychogeographic sketch of Dar es Salaam, winding its twisting route through reveries and evocations and deliberately straying from the direct linear course of the great circle track.

Watch the Talk with Francois Knoetze