Part 2 of Drones at Liberty: Our conversation continues to explore the meaning of drones–drones as instruments of war and policing, drones in the public imaginary, drones as extensions of state and/or human will–all topics under examination at the recent IU Symposium on Drone Warfare.
All technologies are transgressive.
It seems to me that normalization is the issue. Spying technologies have been around for a long time and yet there surely was a “peeping Tom” (men!) stigma as well as a respect for privacy–plus, who cares what normal life someone else was leading–ah, but prurience cultivated over the decades has increasingly led us to acknowledge that life is boring, yet hope that some folks perhaps are not boring, or that spying as a transgression is not boring BECAUSE it’s a transgression not for what is revealed through spying. Our television shows and movies normalize torture and spying and now the piloting of UAVs across the thousands of miles.
I would go so far as to argue that acceptable use inevitably paves the way for the transgression, and that the transgression is the fullest expression of the technology.
But, as many presenters made plain, the policing and terror apparatus is already firmly in place, and UAVs are an “in-kind” application that will further the constant machine surveillance and control of humanity.
With apologies to Emily Dickinson:
I heard a DRONE buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
and then it was
There interposed a DRONE –
With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –
Ishan Ashutosh, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Indiana University, is a critical human geographer whose work encompasses the study of migration, the politics of race and ethnicity from an international and comparative perspective, and urban studies. His research examines the multiple and contested representations of South Asia through projects situated in migration and area studies.
Chris Miles is a PhD student in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University. His work focuses on the intellectual, political, and material relationships between capitalism, media technologies, and nature. In particular, he studies informatic media and digital technology integrated into or pattered on biology and biological processes.
The Flaming Lips, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1″
The Police, “Bombs Away”
The Flaming Lips, “Do You Realize??”
The Flaming Lips, “All We Have Is Now”
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