Dronework II

Photographers and the connection to technology, past compared to how we use technology now. They become a part of our body, the intimate relationship between humans and technologies.

Trevor Paglen, Drone Vision, 2010

“The vast majority of the images are the drones targeting, practicing looking at roads very methodically, but there are a few moments where a drone looks around, looks up, looks at its surroundings. So it’s like this drone is lost, looking at the world around it.”

Attribute human characteristics to animals, we do the same thing with technology.

Mechanic vision – new relationship between humans and technology.

Example – when you pick up and object such as a marker, changes both yours and the markers natures. You could do something different that I couldn’t before.

‘The drone as a distributed system of sentience, memory, and communication based on the calculation (and transformation) of information.’ Johnston, p46

  • All the people that are involved with the drones.

The drone as an incarnation of distributed perception: ‘processes of decentralized soft assembly in which mind, body, and world act as equal partners in determining adaptive behavior’. Clark, p68

  • Distributed between lots of people.

When does the human end and the technology begin?

Omer Fast, 5000 Feet is the Best, 2011

Technology and psychological problems after being a drone operator and targets relationship. Equal to those active in combat. More directly involved, can see it.

5000 feet above the site, they can see the shoes of the people below.

‘The distance that’s compressed is prima facie optical, and is interesting in as much as the technology involved – scopes, cameras, heat sensor, satellites, etc. – can be seen as virtual extension of the operator’s body, much like a prosthetic or cyborg. But where it gets even more interesting and messy is when you consider the psychological effects this prosthetic compression has on the person operating the machine.’ Omer Fast

virtual extension – Something you cannot see with your own eyes, very much like we use our iPhone, virtual extension of the body.

prosthetic compression – Inhabits the drone, becomes the drone.

Relationship between 5×4 camera and your body for example, you have to change and adapt for the technology.

How this connects to our own practice, embodying the technology.

Agency – ability to act in the world.

Drone operators are usually young and in their 20s, need the reactions, a lot of the time are gamers. Can go for weeks not seeing anything then get the order to kill.

Agency is different with and without camera, different entity.

“These actors operate at various scales and levels of complexity, whether at the level of hardware, software, image, data, controls, or flight or ground crews, or at the scale of logistical support service, or operator and maintenance training. The affiliations that they constitute are practices as much as object-configurations, systems as much as parts.”

Crandall, Jordan (2013). ‘Ontology of the Drone’ in Drone: The Automated Image. Paul Wombell, ed. Bielefeld, Germany: Kerber Verlag, pp196-206.

[image: the Global Hawk Operations Center at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center]

Targeting based on video games, drones based on video games.

Drone operators are treated by using exposure therapy – also based on video games.

What they see is very much like a video game.

Back and forth between military and video game designers.

The drone’s systems of operation also include certain representational conventions – the dominant one being the video game, with its familiar modes of cognitive and affective engagement…

‘Ground control stations, training simulations and video games occupy a common cognitive and affective terrain: sites of data rendered actionable. Together they constitute an interlocking complex, harnessing the imaginary, that conditions orientation in the world.’ Crandell, p204

[image: still from Drone: Shadow Strike mobile app]

  • How we pursue the information.
  • Entertain ourselves and kill people in the same way.
  • Totally different consequences.

Lisa Barnard, from Virtual Iraq, 2008

  • Reality and simulation
  • Emotionally real enough

George Barber, The Freestone Drone, 2013

  • Projected onto hanging sheet.
  • Looking at the laundry or change it, men’s clothing.
  • Drone leading main actor.

‘I will be taking out somebody with a little bit of washing. Just one person, who probably washed the clothes that evening, before they lay down to sleep. … It will be a nothing type house in the middle of nowhere. I will come in, see the washing, and die. I wish you well. I am not responsible for what I do or say. I am to die in clean clothes, swathed in black like a body. People will hate me.’

 Interesting, emotionally, different between mechanical and operator.

Made it child-like, wonder of the world.


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