Here is a rare and literal example of public art in the realm of hard power. If you thought of artist JR’s work upon seeing this striking installation in Pakistan, you’re right—apparently the gigantic poster of a Pakistani child who lost her family in a Predator drone attack was displayed with the help of artists associated with the JR campaign. The message is quite clear: drone attacks are affecting innocent lives while seeking local terrorists. In Pakistan alone, over 200 children have perished because of drones…and the number is expected to continue to rise.
While it is probable that this effort won’t exactly halt drone operators from their objectives, it does add a unique element to the controversy of such attacks. Namely, it puts a tangible visual cue in the spotlight of drone operations—particularly effective with its simple and straightforward approach that is extremely easy to spread and share, both online (see #notabugsplat) and otherwise. But perhaps the most haunting possibility for viewers from afar will be if and when we see the poster next, blasted and burnt from precisely what it intended to thwart.