The Taranis trilogy is a Paper Tiger collaboration, developed at Ovalhouse in 2013 by Omar El-Khairy, Afsaneh Gray and Tanya Singh.
Drone pilots clutching PS3 joysticks, watching images beamed in from thousands of miles away. Military training in fake villages populated by amputee actors. PTSD treated with 3D simulations. Afghani kids given wire-tapped mobile phones as British Army strategy. These aren't scenarios from science fiction, but the reality of contemporary 'war at a distance': all-seeing, all-knowing, godlike and monstrous.
Taranis is the name of a BAE Systems’ simulation programme designed to enable UK soldiers to fly Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka drones) from home soil. This programme is in turn named after a Celtic deity, the personification of thunder. With the Taranis trilogy, we have been thinking about ancient technology and cutting-edge myths, about hyper-real simulations and bloody realities, and about the uncertain gap between 'over there' and 'over here'.
As part of Paper Tiger's residency as Associate Artists at Ovalhouse in 2013, we developed first drafts of three scripts that took stories of 'war at a distance' as a springboard for further exploration.
On 1st June 2013, we held a salon in the Ovalhouse Cafe with readings of stories from Afsaneh, Omar and Tanya, and discussion with guest speakers James Bridle and Antoine Bousquet. Readings were performed by Barra Collins and directed by Christopher Loscher. For more information, see the Ovalhouse website.