Josh Begley

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Josh Begley
Josh Begley.png
Born1984 (age 35–36)
San Francisco, California
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley,
NYU's Tisch School of the Arts
Known forDigital Art, Data Visualization

Josh Begley (born 1984) is an American digital artist known for his data visualizations. He is the creator of Metadata+, an iPhone app that tracks every reported United States drone strike.[1] Begley is the director of two short films, Best of Luck with the Wall (2016) and Concussion Protocol (2018), both produced by Academy Award-winning director Laura Poitras.[2] He is based in Brooklyn, New York.


Begley was born in San Francisco, California in 1984.[3] He is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley[4] and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in Interactive Telecommunications.[5][6]

In July 2012, Begley developed an iPhone application that would send a push notification every time there was a US drone strike in Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia. Apple rejected the app three times,[7] calling its content "crude and objectionable".[8] Begley then created Dronestream, a Twitter account chronicling every reported US drone strike,[9] for Douglas Rushkoff's Narrative Lab. It gained 15,000 followers in the first week.[10][11]

In June 2012, Begley and two other New York University graduate students, Mehan Jayasuriya and James Borda, received a cease and desist letter from Invisible Children for their Kony 2012 parody website, Kickstriker.[12][13]

In 2014, after five rejections, Apple accepted Begley's iPhone app.[14] It was then approved as Metadata+, before once again being removed by Apple, bringing the total number of rejections to 12.[15] He works at The Intercept with journalists Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras.[16]


Begley is the director of Best of Luck with the Wall (2016), a documentary short about the geography of the U.S.-Mexico border.[17] It was made with 200,000 satellite images downloaded from Google Maps.[18] It received Honorary Mention at 2017 Prix Ars Electronica and was nominated for an ICP Infinity Award.[19]

In 2018, Begley released his second short film, Concussion Protocol (2018), produced by Academy Award-winning director Laura Poitras. The New Yorker called it "a chasteningly gorgeous accounting of each concussion reported during the current N.F.L. season."[20]

He co-taught a class at Columbia Law School in Fall of 2018.[21]


  • "Dronestream", (December 2012) a Twitter account posting every reported United States drone strike.[5]
  • "Officer Involved", (June 2015) a photographic project on police violence, with an introduction by the novelist Teju Cole.[22]
  • "Prison Map", (2012) a site using aerial photography to provide a visual representation of the US prison system.[6][23][24]
  • "Redlining", (2012) an online archive of redlining maps overlaid on California cities.[25][26]
  • "Kickstriker", (2012) a parody site Begley built with classmates Mehan Jayasuriya and James Borda, purporting to crowdfund military interventions in global conflicts.[27]
  • "The Listserve", part of a NYU class project built by Begley with Greg Dorsainville, Yoonjo Choi, Alvin Chang and  Zena Koo.[28] A listserv-like email list where one randomly selected list member per day can send an email to the entire list.[28]
  • "Subject of the Dream", a collage of excerpts from the work of Toni Morrison.
  • "Racebox", (2010) a website showing the race section of the United States Census through history, from 1790 to 2010.[29]This project explores historical racial identities in the United States and the relationship between government and race.[18]
  • "", an interactive map showing the location of known United States military installations around the world.[30]
  • "", a visual representation of the Associated Press's probe into the New York Police Department's post-9/11 Muslim surveillance program.
  • "Archives + Absences", an iPhone app that notifies users every time the police end someone's life in the United States.[31]
  • "The News is Breaking," a visualization of every New York Times front page since 1852.[32]
  • "Best of Luck with the Wall," (2016) produced by Laura Poitras, a short film about the geography of the U.S.-Mexico Border.[29]
  • "Concussion Protocol," (2018) produced by Laura Poitras, a visual record of every concussion reported during the 2017-2018 NFL season.[33]


  1. ^ "Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes". Wired Magazine. Wired. 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  2. ^ Desta, Yohana (2018-02-01). "A Brutal Short Film Captures Every N.F.L. Concussion of the Season". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  3. ^ "Josh Begley - Good Luck with the Wall". Getxophoto International Image Festival. Begihandi. 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  4. ^ "The Knotted Line". AIM Hatchfund. 2011. Retrieved 2018-10-04. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.
  5. ^ a b McGuinness, William (2012-12-13). "Josh Begley, NYU Grad Student, Tweets Every Drone Strike". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  6. ^ a b "4,916 Prisons In One Place: 'Prison Map' by Josh Begley". Prison Photography. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  7. ^ Wingfield, Nick (2012-08-30). "Apple Rejects App Tracking Drone Strikes". New York Times.
  8. ^ Henn, Steve (2012-08-30). "Drone-Tracking App Gets No Traction From Apple". NPR All Tech Considered. NPR. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  9. ^ Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo (2012-12-11). "Student Tweets Entire History of US Drone Strikes". Mashable. Mashable. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  10. ^ "Josh Begley Tweets Entire History of U.S. Drone Attacks". The Daily Beast.
  11. ^ "The NYU Student Tweeting Every Reported US Drone Strike Has Revealed A Disturbing Trend". Business Insider.
  12. ^ "Kickstarter of Doom: Hoax Site 'Funds' Torture Bus, Death Drones". Wired.
  13. ^ "'Kony 2012' Threatens Lawsuit Against Online Parody". Wired.
  14. ^ "After 5 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes". Mashable.
  15. ^ "After 12 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes". The Intercept.
  16. ^ "The Great SIM Heist: How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle". The Intercept.
  17. ^ Madrigal, Alexis (2016-10-26). "A mesmerizing new short film about the ridiculousness of Trump's border wall". Splinter News. Fusion. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  18. ^ a b Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo (2012-12-11). "Student Tweets Entire History of US Drone Strikes". Mashable. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  19. ^ "Winners 2017 - Prix Ars Electronica". Archived from the original on 2017-07-19. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  20. ^ Cunningham, Vinson (February 2, 2018). "A Haunting Video of Every Concussion Reported During the Current N.F.L. Season". The New Yorker.
  21. ^ "The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America - Symposium & Events - Haverford". Haverford College.
  22. ^ Brook, Pete (2016-01-05). "Visualizing 'Officer-Involved' Deaths Across America". Time. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  23. ^ Brook, Pete (2015-01-09). "Aerial Photos Expose the American Prison System's Staggering Scale". Wired.
  24. ^ "Prison Map". MIT - Docubase. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  25. ^ Madrigil, Alexis C. (2014-05-22). "The Racist Housing Policy That Made Your Neighborhood". The Atlantic.
  26. ^ ""Is Urbanism Just The New Term for Gentrification?" | American Leadership Forum - Silicon Valley". Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  27. ^ Popovich, Nadja (2012-06-20). "Kony 2012 group threatens lawsuit over 'wartime' Kickstarter-like parody site". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  28. ^ a b Springer, Kate. "The Listserve: What Would You Say to a Million People?". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  29. ^ a b "The Artistry And Activism of Data Visualization". The Haverblog. 2016-12-09. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  30. ^ "The Eye-Opening Aerial Geography of U.S. Military Might". CityLab. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  31. ^ Pulliam-Moore, Charles (2016-01-21). "This app will notify you every time the police kill someone in the U.S." Splinter. Fusion. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  32. ^ Opam, Kwame (2017-02-21). "Watch every New York Times front page fly by and see the rise of the image". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  33. ^ Engber, Daniel. "This Short Movie Will Change the Way You Watch Football Forever". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2018-10-04.

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