Commonly un/grounded

Coley, Rob and OMeara, Adam (2013) Commonly un/grounded. [Event, Show or Exhibition]

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Item Type:Event, Show or Exhibition
Item Status:Live Archive


‘narrative consists not in communicating what one has seen but in transmitting what one has heard’
– Deleuze and Guattari

Our contribution to 'Murmuration', an online 'Festival of Drone Culture' comes in two interconnected parts. The first part is a photographic typology of protestors:
These images were produced at the ‘Ground the Drones’ rally outside the gates of RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire (in April, 2013), the new base of the UK military’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Squadron. To date, this event stands as the largest public protest in the UK specifically responding to drone warfare.
The second part of our submission is an audio piece assembled from stretched and edited recordings made on the march from Lincoln to RAF Waddington. This soundtrack, of protest slogans and chants, has been interwoven with the sound of drone activity over Gaza (sampled from a recording made by Rosa Schiano):

In the production of this work, the drone is taken to be a symptom of what McKenzie Wark calls ‘telesthesia’, a mediated transformation of perception brought about by the movement of information at rates faster than people or things. The typology of images and audio soundtrack emerge from a commons immanent to the abstract communicational spaces of this media-ecological battlefield.
The photographic typology is, of course, a strategy of data collection and analysis, a technique through which difference – and potential difference – can be revealed from within a set of apparently uniform components. In the small history of photography, we are familiar with such techniques as employed by August Sander, who sought to classify German society in the midst of an emerging Nazism, and with Bernd and Hilla Becher’s attempts to document a changing industrial landscape. We can, though, identify a similar logic of pattern and relation analysis underlying drone warfare itself. Targets of aerial attacks are moved up a ‘kill list’ on the basis of (typically automated) pattern-of-life analysis; threats which often exist only in potential are indentified and controlled preemptively. Here, we render the power of the typology – the exposure of a collective potential incapable of representation by its constituent parts – as a social and political tool.
This occurs in the relation between the images and audio recording. Though, in response to the threat of drone warfare, we as activists seek to verify and document the consequences of its ‘invisible’ actions, the real drone escapes such representation. The real drone operates on the level of rumour, beyond the order words of state rhetoric and liberal opposition. Just as the drone functions in a complex zone beyond objective definition, the collectively generated perception of its form and activity is the product of a buzz, a murmur, a hum. All of which means that the drone operates as much through hearsay – what we’ve heard – as it does through what we have seen. In our recordings of the Ground the Drones march, collective chants and slogans become drones in themselves, critical drones which resonate through a newly terrifying background of spatio-temporal collapse. We contend that these virtual drones act as a non-representational mode of perception, a collective attunement to the affective refrains performed in the murmurous intensities of protest instead of through the mere interpretation of evidential fact.

Keywords:Drones, Protest, fabulation, photography, Deleuze and Guattari, bmjtype
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W640 Photography
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:9698
Deposited On:03 Jun 2013 13:11

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