8 - 10 December 2020
Keynote: Caren Kaplan (UC, Davis)
Drones swiftly moved from the margins of the military to reshape war and surveillance, but they have also had wide-ranging effects on fields as diverse as wildlife conservation, agriculture, visual art, climate activism, urban policing and television production. Drone vision is rapidly transforming visual culture, generating novel aesthetics, changing how the world is witnessed and enabling new capacities to see, know and control. At the same time, drones themselves have become objects of significance, eliciting anxiety and hope, fear and desire. Unsurprisingly, diverse cultures have sprung up alongside and in response to their proliferating presence and growing accessibility. All this makes it crucial to understand the similarities, differences and complexities of these technologies and their impacts on how we sense, feel, know and act in the world.
This two-day symposium brings together academics, artists and researchers to explore drone cultures from multiple perspectives and practices with the aim of generating dialogue across disciplinary boundaries to better understand the diversity of drones and drone cultures. How has drone vision influenced contemporary visual culture? How do practices, aesthetics, techniques and technologies move back and forth between military and non-military contexts? How have artists, writers and filmmakers critiqued, adopted and innovated drone technologies? How have drones changed how power is exercised and experienced? What cultures have sprung up around drones in conservation, activism, amateur photography and other contexts? How are drones and other remote sensing systems shaping and shaped by our desires and imaginaries? What does the proliferation of drones mean for the future of the human?
This symposium is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and hosted by the UNSW Media Futures Hub.
Drone Cultures acknowledge and pays respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work and live, particularly the Bedegal, Bidjigal and Gadigal Peoples, and their elders past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded, and the struggle for justice continues.