Visuality and the vector: mapping and hijacking drone culture

Coley, Rob (2014) Visuality and the vector: mapping and hijacking drone culture. In: Autonomy and Automation: Robotics, AI and the Digital Cultural Future, 8th March, 2014, Pervasive Media Studio, Digital Cultures Research Centre, University of the West of England.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


This paper will map an emergent drone culture by intersecting recent revisionist theories of visuality (Mirzoeff, 2011) with explorations of vectoral power (Wark, 2013). In Nicholas Mirzoeff’s description of visuality’s new counterinsurgent mode, power remains hegemonic, an outside force that structures the reality of a world to which we remain subject. McKenzie Wark, by contrast, outlines a ‘third nature’ of power that operates ontologically: fully and invisibly embedded within everyday social life, constituted by an abstract system of informational processes. The drone is a symptom of this spatio-temporal matrix, a system in which the conventional division between here and there, and that between present and future, is under threat. It is in these terms that the implications of drone culture can be understood to extend beyond the tools of sovereign power, and to express a post-hegemonic mode of visuality, a visuality that mediates collective perceptual patterns and automatisms in order to exploit vectoral potential. However, following Mirzoeff, a gradual attunement to the strategic contours of this space points to a growing crisis in visuality. Perhaps, then, tactics of countervisuality can hijack and reprocess the flows of information which vectoral power has rendered continuous. As an example, this paper will refer to ongoing work made during the course of a year in which the RAF’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Squadron has operated a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, located in Afghanistan, from its base in a Lincolnshire village.

Keywords:visuality, Nicholas Mirzoeff, vector, Drones
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:13492
Deposited On:10 Mar 2014 09:01

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