The 1,000 drones: a participatory memorial

Joseph De Lappe (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


The 1,000 Drones invites the public to create a small scale, papercraft replica of a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator UAV (Unmanned Arial Vehicle) - a drone. Participants are asked to write the name of a civilian drone casualty upon the wings of the aircraft. The 1,000 paper drones created for this installation were made over the past three months by local students and volunteers working through the FSU Department of Art. The names for the project are from known civilian casualties from Pakistan and Yemen. The names of civilian drone casualties from our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq does not exist – these victims are noted in this work as “unknown”.

The project is an adaptation of The 1,000 Cranes or “Senbazuru” tradition from Japan. This tradition holds that anyone who folds one thousand cranes will be granted a wish. Since World War II the tradition has been associated with the atomic attacks upon Nagasaki and Hiroshima - the folding of the cranes has become a wish for peace. Through the act of participating in this work of creative remembrance, the intention is for we, as Americans, to recognize and remember those innocents killed in our ongoing Global War on Terror.

The project was first created by volunteers for display at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts for the exhibition Making Now - Open for Exchange, a second version of the work was created for the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in 2017 for the exhibition Watch The Skies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


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