This Bitsy art game depicts life as an automated flying delivery drone, as seen from the standpoint of the machine itself. It is a codework, revealing the city, from the drone’s perspective, to be a tightly constrained, algorithmic space, with the only reality being a wholly synthetic map of vectors and nodes. Terse electronic bulletins narrate the action as the drone goes about its business, but in a style mirroring aviation terminal language, and so are not easily readable at first. Learning to effectively see and think like a machine is a key part of viewing this piece.

Instructions / Tips

Follow the arrows and coloured routes to the¬†flashing boxes, which always indicate your next destination.¬†Try another direction if the way ahead appears blocked – the city won’t let you fly anywhere other than the specific route needed to your designated destination. If you read the on screen text carefully, when landing on a flashing box, clues are given as to where you need to go next, what route to take, and what you’ll be delivering, but it is perfectly possible to ‘brute force’ your way forward by trying all routes.

It is worth examining any nearby drones that are on standby. There are often multiple messages for each drone encounter, so keep cycling through.

If you complete the delivery itinerary then you can access the airspace permissions necessary to freely orbit the network, without any restrictions. A typical playthrough, overall, may last a few minutes – reaching the ‘end’ is perhaps not really the goal here.

The look of this piece was drawn from an illustration by Superflux, “Cartographies of the Sky”, for their Drone Aviary (2015) project and film.

You can explore the piece below (also available at Plays with ambient sound.