November Artists Events

Film screening, panel discussion, and public talk

For our events in November, there will also be a screening of Sonia Kennebeck’s award-winning whistleblower documentary, National Bird (2016), executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris. This will be followed by a panel discussion with artists Tomas van Houtryve and Mahwish Chishty, who are joining us to talk about their artwork in relation to aesthetics and drone warfare.

You can register for the film screening and panel discussion here.

Mahwish Chishty will also be giving a public talk at the University of Sheffield, which you can find more about here.

Biographies

Called ‘one of the leading photographers of his generation,’ Tomas van Houtryve is a conceptual artist, photographer and author. His projects ‘interweave investigative journalism, philosophy and metaphor.’ Van Houtryve has exhibited his work around the world, and has been the recipient of prestigious honours including the Roger Pic Award (2019), CENTER Producer’s Choice Award (2018), CatchLight / Pulitzer Fellowship (2017) and many others. In his project Blue Sky Days (2013), Van Houtryve explored the politics of space and aeriality, photographing civilian scenes in the USA from a drone, presenting domestic life as if the target of a hostile eye.

Mahwish Chishty is a multimedia artist who initially trained as a miniature painter in Pakistan. She has since developed an approach that combines traditional artistic practice with her interest in contemporary politics, particularly the relationship between the US and Pakistan. She writes that her work explores the  ‘juxtaposition of terror with the representation of cultural beauty.’ In 2017, Chishty was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in the same year held a solo exhibition at the Imperial War Museum London. Much of Chishty’s work responds to contemporary drone warfare, often combining the tradition of Pakistani ‘truck art’ with images of military Reaper and Predator drones.

Come join us

Please click on the individual images for more information on each event, and to register your interest on Eventbrite. All events are free. We hope to see you there!

Podcast 1: Interview with Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

Podcast 1: Interview with Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

We’re delighted to share our first Aesthetics of Drone Warfare podcast, a conversation with Brisbane-based artist, Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox. Kathryn speaks about drones, temporality, distance, clouds, meta-veillance, existential risk, the Anthropocene, painting, and the relationship between academic research and creative practice. There’s also a shout-out to our conference keynote, Derek Gregory, among many other important researchers!

Her ‘dronescapes’ are currently being shown in a solo exhibition at the POP Gallery in Brisbane from 27 August — 7 September 2019.

Below are two pieces of artwork that are referenced and especially relevant to the discussion in the podcast. More of Kathryn’s work can be found on her blog, which has been archived on PANDORA, Australia’s national archive for online sites ‘of significance and long-term research value,’ since 2014.

The New Clouds (Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm, 2017) by Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox
Stay Alert: Says the Tree (Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm, 2019) by Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

Project Information

The Aesthetics of Drone Warfare is a project generously funded by a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award for 2019-2020, hosted by the University of Sheffield.

Drones have now become commercial and readily available, with innovators promising unprecedented solutions to sectors as wide ranging as agriculture, energy, public safety, and construction. But this multi-billion-dollar industry is founded upon the technology’s origins in a military context, and drone warfare is rapidly redefining the meaning of war, peace, and their temporal and geographical boundaries. This project explores the issues surrounding drone warfare through the prism of aesthetics: aesthetics understood as art, and as the relationship between the body, the self, and the material environment. Combining surveillance with targeting, satellite imaging with ground-level intelligence, drones alter how war is experienced by pilot, target, and spectator.

To examine the impact of this information-based, algorithmic apparatus on the cultural consciousness, this project will bring together writers and artists, museum curators and NGOs, through three engagement events to reflect on the art of drone warfare:

  1. A public panel featuring leading artists and thinkers about drone warfare
  2. Film screenings featuring works about drone art and drone warfare, introduced by an expert and followed by post-screening discussions
  3. An international, interdisciplinary conference held at the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield

In addition, this website will include blog posts of interviews with artists and writers working on the aesthetics of drone warfare, alongside event recaps and summaries.

Watch this space!