Identified Flying Objects by David Wittig
“It is rather that profoundly in the consciousness of the race the idea of flight is associated with human aspiration and release from physical limitations. Now, on the very threshold of achievement, that dream becomes a nightmare threatening an awful vengeance for its perversion and in desperation the soul of man reaches backward for the untarnished symbol of his hope.” - Selden Rodman, The Poetry of Flight, 1943
I grew up in the early 1980’s, at the tail end of the Cold War. As a kid, I was fascinated by, and sought out, spy photographs of the latest Soviet and American military aircraft. The photos were usually very grainy and blurry and only hinted at the shape and purpose of these mysterious vehicles. Often classified as Unidentified Flying Objects, they seemed to be from the future, and in a certain way, they were.
In the series Identified Flying Objects, I’ve adopted the visual iconography of those photos and applied them to non-secret military and civilian aircraft that are used for military purposes. By concealing the detail you are accustomed to seeing, these blurred shapes reveal the Brancusian essence of these machines. The images attempt to maintain and balance their paradox: while being sublimely beautiful and the pinnacle of a millennia-old human dream, these aircraft were designed and used to deliver or assist in delivering terror and destruction to human civilizations.
David Wittig lives and works in Chicago, IL.
To view more of David's work, please visit his website.