Archive for June, 2011
Sci fi has long predicted an army of drones, however today’s NYC Times’ article on Microdones is at once awe striking and fearful. Hear are a few excerpts that rung strongly as I read through the article:
Last summer, fighter jets were almost scrambled after a rogue Fire Scout drone, the size of a small helicopter, wandered into Washington’s restricted airspace.
“There’s a kind of nostalgia for the way wars used to be,” said Deane-Peter Baker, an ethics professor at the United States Naval Academy, referring to noble notions of knight-on-knight conflict. Drones are part of a post-heroic age, he said, and in his view it is not always a problem if they lower the threshold for war. “It is a bad thing if we didn’t have a just cause in the first place,” Mr. Baker said. “But if we did have a just cause, we should celebrate anything that allows us to pursue that just cause.”
One of the smallest drones in use on the battlefield is the three-foot-long Raven, which troops in Afghanistan toss by hand like a model airplane to peer over the next hill.
And here are a few images of the shrinking size of drones:
The highly used Predator Drone, particularly since 9/11.
The Shadow Drone.
And as photographed in the NY Times article the prototype for a hummingbird-like drone.
Of course in more recent critical art practices, setting aside the long history of drones in Science Fiction, there are several works that come to mind, particularly the long standing fictional work of Alex Rivera – Cybracero and the sculptural work “Parasitos Urbanos” of Gilberto Esparza. Although Esparza’s work reflects upon the self-sufficient nature of Mexico City’s street commerce, Rivera’s work points squarely at the de-humanizing aspects of the transnational corporate-military machine. Unfortunately, critical art, does little to stop the growing drone army by the Empire’s military. And we – all tax paying U.S. citizens and non-citizens are contributors.
I don’t know who this performance artist is or who she is protesting against, whether it’s the Colombian government, or multinationals or power in general, but it’s exciting to see (in more ways than one), particularly the street actions, such as the performance on Bolivar’s Monument below.
Eventually she stops dancing and merely sits on the edge of the monument. The video states:
Eventually a police man forced me to step down from the Bolivar’s monument because he felt that my body on the monument’s steps was vulgar and I was ruining the tourist photos. So I continued the action without erotic dancing.
Brooke Gladstone of “On the Media” recently collaborated with cartoonist Josh Neufeld on a graphic book titled The Influencing Machine. Here’s a great animated sequence using Gladstone’s words and Neufeld’s graphics to give you a sense of the nature of the book.